The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Sandro predicts. Whose gonna argue?

Sandro says we can win the Premiership this year.
Shall I tell him it ain't gonna happen, or will you?
The JimmyG2 Column
And so we bid farewell to 2012, yet another year of hope and heartbreak. We seem to have been washed up by the cross currents and tides in exactly the same place as we were last year, in the Champions' League places. We have some nine fewer points, but are slightly better if you compare like for like games. The exact details are not crucial at this point and direct comparisons are a little tricky.

But last year the onrushing tide of good fortune and fair weather ebbed and we found ourselves battling the headwinds that beset Harry. As a result we snatched fourth out of the jaws of third. In so doing we had Champions' League qualification cruelly taken away by Chelsea's success. We are unlikely to repeat that particularly difficult trick for a second year running.

Now everything under the sun is of course possible but I'm prepared to wager a moderate amount that AVB is unlikely to be in court for tax evasion, or be out of action having a heart operation or be distracted by hopes of the England Manager's job. He is currently doing  surprisingly well and is more likely than not to continue to do so.

In the second half of the season last year we took just 23 points from 19 games. In the first half of this season we took 33 points from the same. A  top four finish is definitely on. The season of transition is promising much more than many thought possible despite injuries and the loss of Modders and VDV.

All this positivity is borne out by the first game of the second half of the season against Sunderland. Even going 1-0 down just before half time could not prevent us making a fighting comeback to win. A fortunate own goal just after the break put us back on track. Cuellar impeded by O'Shea who had scored the opener minutes before headed Walker's corner into his own net.

Within 3 minutes Lennon had scored a brilliant individual goal and the game was sealed. Apart from Bale getting unfairly booked for 'simulation' and Defoe missing a goal that my Granny, let alone Sandra, could have put away, nothing much happened. We continued to control the ball and dominate the game.

Lloris was impressive once again in the little he had to do; Naughton had another good game though still playing out of position. Both of them made the Guardians 'Team of the Weekend'. Bale and Lennon were handfuls all game. Once again we pressed from the start and made sufficient chances to have won this much more easily. Adebayor contrived to hit the bar from two yards out and hit the keeper when clear on goal.

So with Scotty already out and about and Benny hopefully imminent, Kaboul to come and the new players bedding, or bedded, in there is room for a little optimism. Not too much of course: this is Tottenham after all. We are certainly getting the results, six wins in the last eight games and the football is getting better too, which after all, is the point of the whole enterprise.

So the future's bright and we have Reading at home on Tuesday (edit) with QPR to follow. Complacency and arrogance are our only enemies here. If we play as if it really matters because it does and don't make any assumptions about them we should dominate and win even without Bale, banned for this game for receiving 5 yellows. 3 of them for diving.

Spurs 3-1

New Year Predictions:
  1. QPR will get relegated despite Harry and Taarabt's best efforts. Managerial blather even of Olympic Gold standard doesn't win matches.
  2. Very little of importance will happen at Spurs in the January window.
  3. Man.Utd will win the league and we will be fourth ahead of Arsenal and then Everton. Sorry Sandro.

    And remember: don't blame the messenger.

    Jimmy's Video Spot.
    Gareth is the most penalised diver in the Premiership. Three yellows and counting. Dives? You want dives?. Gareth has a lot to learn. Going down when you've been clipped has got nothing to do with it. Watch and learn Baler, watch and learn.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Rumours and Denials

 Says here Sarge that we went 'over the top' 
in the second half and got blown to pieces.

The JimmyG2  Column

Thank you Santa, the Villa game certainly made my Xmas. The presents were a bit predictable if the truth be known, the Jamie Oliver mince pies didn't go according to plan and the turkey was just a little on the dry side but all was forgotten after Tottenham's performance at Villa. Five away wins; four spanking strikes; three Bale goals; two decent halves and a victoreee away from home.

There are rumours of disappointed Spurs fans out there; we didn't score early enough to settle the nerves; we could have scored several more; Aston Villa were shell shocked after their trip to West London and were rubbish anyway; we had 16 corners but only three resulted in attempts on goal.

 But that would be a desperate effort to find fault with a very good performance over a full 90 minutes. Lloris didn't touch the ball in the first half hour or make a save until the second half and this was his fourth clean sheet in five games. We are back up to fourth and our away performances are outstanding.

Only Man. Utd have scored more goals or won more matches away from home than Spurs; we are the only side in the Premiership to score in every away game, and best of all, the football is getting better.

AVB is handling his squad with more confidence. Caulker and Dawson saw off the threat of Kenwyne Jones against Stoke and then Vertonghen returned to his favourite position partnered by Gallas against Villa and the result in both cases was a clean sheet. The keeper situation has not only been resolved but Brad has signed an extension to his contract. Rumours of splits and bad feeling were clearly way off beam.

Kyle Naughton replaced Jan at full back and played with more confidence. It was his first time peach of a pass that set up Defoe for the first. After that it was the Gareth Bale half hour and he scored his first Premiership hat trick to go with the one he scored in the Champions' League. Rumours of transfers to Madrid in January put firmly on the back burner at whatever price.

He picked up a loose clearance for a solo run for his first. Lennon danced into the middle following a quick fire exchange with Walker to set him up for his second and Sigurdsson cut the ball back for the third following another shrewd pass from Walker. All four goals came in the last 35 minutes following an hour of domination.

Villa's undoing was their attempt to play more positively in the second half. They had kept a clean sheet until then thanks to two excellent saves by Buzan from Bale, minor tremors which gave a hint of the earthquake to come. They might have been better advised to keep to their defensive strategy, but they popped their heads above the parapet and we picked them off in style.

We broke at speed especially for the second goal and pressed hard from first to last. The high line caught Benteke out on a number of occasions and Spurs in this mood were the last team that Villa needed as visitors when attempting to re-establish their confidence. Mince pies, turkey and presents all just a bad dream. AVB seems to be getting a firmer grip on things.

Got some stick for not contributing enough to the general assault and looked peeved, twice, when Bale didn't pass to him for his solo and intercepted a ball that might have reached him for the last.
But as they both went in he doesn't have much to complain about. I thought he played well apart from looking grumpy. He's a striker; he needs goals.

Everyone says that they will be sterner opponents but I am forgoing my usual 'take a draw now' fall back position. Spurs in this frame of mind can press, attack with speed especially away from home, score and keep a clean sheet. They might just give us the space to perform in.
Spurs 2-0

Where are they now? (New Feature)

(1)Benoit Assou Ekotto.
 Rumoured to be fit now for several days but not in the squad on Saturday. He has denied links to Chelsea as unlikely and premature. I foresee 'Where's Benny?' books for children in the Spurs shop soon. Any sightings in or around the training ground welcomed. Our usual sources are silent.

(2)Wesley Sneijder
We may have inadvertently given credence to the ludicrous rumours of Wesley coming to Spurs from Inter Milan. It has been flatly denied at the highest levels here and in Italy, so forcibly that I am becoming hopeful again. If we believe strongly enough we can fly, we can fly. But try it from a ground floor window first and don't order your Sneijder shirts just yet. Don't forget the 'j' when you do.

Reasons to be cheerful (Old feature)
Scotty's back  so the boy Sandro can have a rest. Win, win.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Not that he's coming, but just in case he does, here's 4 minutes of Wesley, the Modern Playmaker.
Good to watch even if by any chance he doesn't make it to Spurs. Davids, Van der Vaart, Wesley. Logical progression and we could certainly do with a playmaker, dead ball ace, and goalscorer from midfield. Come on Daniel do the right thing.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Sneijder arrives to standing room only.

 It's a puzzle Jimmy. Posted in Italy
but it's all in Dutch. Must be the wrong address.
The Greg Meyer Column
Christmas Day  2012.
Standing Room Only  ... A Wesley Sneijder Accident.
Before we cover the Sneijder speculation and bearing in mind it is hard to confuse Christmas Day with April 1st, some reflections on a trip to the Park Lane, South Lower. Better known as Standing Room Lower.
Saturday loomed with a trip to the pub TV to watch Stoke's visit to the Lane. Lo and behold right on cue the Archangel Providence and the old bloke with the white beard landed early in Kent. Armed with two tickets to the match we set off for uncharted waters. Our previous experience was limited to season ticket holding at the Paxton. Now presuming we got through customs and border security an afternoon with Park Lane awaited.
No burkas or false beards needed. We were in and settled down right on kick off. Disaster almost arrived right on cue. A Kyle Walker brain fade was matched by Kenwyne Jones' matching brainless blaze over the bar. Erudite comment quickly flowed from our new friends in the Park Lane.
"There's at least two of them in him a game." A volley of colourful invective as to Kyle's future poured forth. And quite proper it was too. Standing room only all. Nothing like the civilised folk up in the Family Stand. Mind the kids are a lot older now than when we sat in the Paxton. We started to feel quite at home.
The general sentiment regards the visit of Stoke was unanimously along the lines of ... " Lets get this game over for another year." Nothing to do with a respected football opponent. No more of a spoonful of Castor oil or whatever today's equivalent is having to be digested once per season at the Lane. Talk about anti football. Talk about, Hoofin' it. Talk about horrible. We would migrate or switch to Gillingham rather than Stoke.
A referee who was clearly out of his depth did not help. Indeed depth was not the main problem. Serious enquiries and statements about Lee Mason's parentage continuously emanated from the Park Lane chorus. As well considered chants as to his challenged follicular deficiencies rang loud and true.
However not for a moment should one think these enthusiastic fans were ill considered or mindless tribal participants. No in quieter moments considered discussion on the nuances of the match unfolding could be heard. 
Then from nowhere in particular another song.. Super Tottenham .. Oh When The Spurs...and a broad selection of others blasted forth. Musicality and melody not always to the fore but you can bet they heard it down the other end in the Paxton. To their credit Paxton responded. Perhaps not with the ferocity of Park Lane. Maybe we need to revisit the Paxton.
Don't for a moment think it was purely invective and the occasional raw epithet. No Bale taking corners was a huge favourite. Right below us. Certainly his first half efforts were superior to those over hit efforts in the second half. Jan Vertonghen was serenaded rapturously and deservedly so. Another cultured performance and one filled with menace and venom.

Lloris was well received although he had nothing much to do. His main role was attempting to embarrass that genuine trier Michael Dawson. Along with Steven Caulker they dealt well with the irregular Stoke aerial threat. But on several occasions Hugo rolled the ball to our Michael who found himself in acres of space.
 Horrors galore there was no way out, Michael had to venture near and over the half way line with ball in tow. Not his forte. Mind apart from one horrible creative pass to Jerome which he manfully mopped up in thudding Dawson style there were no mishaps.
Overall Park Lane sentiment was universal. Never have so many been so unchallenged, so without nerves as to whether the other mob might score. Quite untottenham  perhaps. But it was Stoke.The best defence about, but without any chance of scoring this season unless the old bloke with the beard brings some gift wrapped goals.
Thank you Park Lane. Standing only. Standing room only every match given the in house entertainment on offer. Of course as well the on pitch fare is usually a little less anti football.
Christmas Crackers At A Kent Pub.
Sentiment, post Stoke, was medicine taken and on to Villa with three point prospects. Yes they are wounded but why not move in for the kill. Being away we should not meet another parked flotilla of buses.
Is Christmas in Italy like here? Seems not. Rather more a festival of fairy tales and elves being mischievous. Journalists too. Wesley Sneijder to Spurs. What's Italian for larf. Don't misunderstand our hopes but surely only one Van Der Vart moment comes along each five years or so. Besides the window has not yet even opened yet and Daniel Levy doesn't get on the phone till the 29th day.
Mind if he turns up at the Lane you can guarantee it will be standing room only not just in the Park Lane but at our pub come the happy hour.
Happy birthday to Gareth's mate Aaron Ramsey tomorrow.
Cheers ....  still can't find Wesley in our stocking, only Clattenburg reffing against Villa, see told you  Santa has his wires crossed ...  Greg Meyer.             coys.
Jimmy's Video spot.
 Here are the very brief highlights courtesy of some scallywag who has taped this off the tele and makes his own introduction and summary. Full marks for enterprise and it's the best I can find.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Spurs Missing Link

They spend more on parking fines
than they do on wages.
The JimmyG2 Column
 Relief all round then. We didn't lose, we kept a clean sheet, no limbs were broken and we all got out alive. What more can you ask for against one of the top defensive teams in the whole of Europe, apparently. They have patented and 'refined' their own brand of football in the Premiership and we don't currently have clever enough players to break it down.

If you can't play the game properly yourselves then the answer is to stop the other team playing by fair means or foul. Stoke incline to the latter tactic. But it's been a common problem at Spurs for a while; dominating play and not creating enough chances or failing to take them when we do.

And so it was on Saturday. In the end we gave up trying to find our way through and resorted to shooting from range: badly. Bergovitch was only inconvenienced once by a deflected shot from Bale and then an injury time header by Siggy from a cross by Sandro that almost snatched the points. The keeper did very well to get down to and scoop it away.

Sigurdsson nearly made the points safe against Everton with a shot that hit the bar and might be worth a try behind Adebayor now that Defoe has lost his scoring touch. Otherwise it all went to plan, Stoke's plan unfortunately and Pulis went away the happier man. If watching that sort of thing every week can make you a happy man.

Dembele played well bringing the ball out of midfield but we need a Van Der Vaart figure further forward who can exploit gaps between the lines. At the moment the missing link unless Dembele can play further forward. Adebayor might be better employed closer to the goal no matter how skillful he is down the left channel. Otherwise our play is a little cumbersome and the build up at times too slow.

Sandro's touch and passing were clumsy and too many moves broke down under little pressure. AVB's choice of Dawson and Caulker worked well and Dawson even when he didn't win the headers denied Jones the space to bring the ball down, turn and run into space.

 Crazy Kyle nearly put us one down in the first minute with a ridiculous cross field ball that found Kenwyne Jones on the edge of the area but he put his shot well over the bar to everyone's relief.

In the second half they gave up any intention of trying to score and Lloris was pretty much a spectator. Eventually we gave up too and apart from a couple of poorly directed headers by Bale and Adebayor we hardly threatened. Lennon and Bale's flame flickered and finally expired and I would liked to have seen Townsend given a run on 70 minutes.

So, a poor game, poorly refereed, poorly responded to by the White Hart Lane faithful by all accounts and not even a goal to stand, applaud or cheer for. With Chelsea, Arsenal, West Brom and Everton all winning the field is bunching on 30 points in the competition for top four as we approach the half way stage.

Away to Aston Villa on Boxing Day we need to take advantage of their post Chelsea depression to secure the points. Speculation is rife that they want to banish all memories of their defeat by taking the game to Spurs and erasing the memory of Stamford Bridge.

This will suit us more than if they attempt to park the bus, a manoeuvre that their defence will struggle with in any case, and I confidently predict a Tottenham win. Adabeyor, Sigurdsson and Townsend to start.
Spurs 2-0.

Jimmy's Video spot:
Not Spurs related but a Xmas treat. 10 minutes of football genius. All Messi's 91 goals this year. Cheeky bid in the January window perhaps? It's either sign Lionel or build half a new stadium?
Tough choice.

Friday, 21 December 2012

AVB cannot be serious

 Any of you Elves speak Portuguese?
The Greg Meyer Column
 Friday Three Sleeps To Christmas 2012.
A White Christmas At The Lane ... News From The North Pole.
The busiest place currently on the planet is the HQ of Claus Enterprises somewhere within a well placed free kick of the North Pole. It is here that processing and delivery of the myriad of Christmas orders is in full swing.
And of course imagine if you will our roving reporter calmly seated before the CEO's desk, a desk piled high with Christmas Wish Lists from all over the footballing globe.Fortunately our man is highly skilled in the dark art of upside down writing reading.There in a neatly typed working document, on notepaper emblazoned with the letterhead 'North Pole Productions', is the following content ...
All I Want For Christmas Is ...

No doubt a band of secretarial elves have collated requests from various EPL managers. A memorandum. Respective wish lists appear as well as addended notes and comments from the elves and the main man himself.
Manchester United.
That people stop telling me I have your nose. Otherwise with Robin Van Persie surely all my Christmases have come at once. Thank you Arsene and to think I thought he didn't like me. On top at Christmas, say no more.
Manchester City.
A gifted sports psychologist fluent in Italian would be welcome. If that meant sorting a certain Mario Volatelli striker and no need to buy further then significant savings regards Financial Fair Play would flow. Might help regards that ninety three million pound loss. Still our pub accountant remains cynical. After all just ship in a club advertiser a la PSG style from Dubai and problem solved regards FFP.
Daniel Sturridge and Thomas Ince (boomerang included). I have also enclosed a second and sealed envelope and ask that the player named therein be moved on. The envelope trick seemed to have some success for A.F. in his younger days.
                               B.R.  desperately so.
Anyone that can score goals, Dutch hopefully. Klaus Huntealar would seem to have promise given that christian name. Really likely to be a poor mans Van Persie. Still if you can see your way clear much appreciated. Surely I have points on board after all that largess to United and City.Robin, Sammi, Gail, etc
                             A.W.  stupidly so say a lot of Arsenal fans.

A striker preferably non Spanish. Falcao anyone.I suppose with my very own Russian Father Christmas this letter is somewhat overkill. Yes Arsene sold Van Persie but why O why did we not keep Didier.
                   M. with follow up letter from R.B.
Moutinho and Llorente.  Elf footnote. Elves fall about in paroxyms of laughter.
Okay a clever public relations ploy by Chairman Levy fooled some regards Moutinho and the nearly signing. Still you gather our drift. No Louis Saha nor a Ryan Nelson. No Harry Redknapp buying either.
Still it is the time of fairy tales. Llorente...never.
                          A.V. B. really not that desperately given lots back from injury.
Most miracle workers are either on missionary work in deepest Africa this time of year or those of a footballing variety are packing for the Cup of Nations. Newcastle probably had all their christmases last year. An incredible run made all the  more achievable by lack of much injury to key players. A thin squad beset with injury this time in will need more than magic from Santa.
                        A.P. just hoping to stay up and hoping Arsene's christmas wish regards Demba Ba is unfulfilled.
At this point heavy footsteps coming his way put an end to further reading. Still there are 3 more sleeps and then some time before the Transfer window opens. Interesting time Christmas particularly 
At A Kent Pub.
A good win over Swansea and very watchable with no late giveaways. Perhaps Vertonghen to centre back was no coincidence.
Our other Belgian just further enhanced his status at our pub. Berba who? Luka who?  Moussa Dembele a joy to watch.
Before we go whilst he is also growing on us you wonder whether anyone listens to those tactical talks. Well Benny wouldn't but here's another AVBism.
"... you put yourself physically in profit for the team." espn. Something to do with trying your guts out on the pitch I guess.
Festive Cheers ... dear Santa a win over Stoke means Christmas above you know who ... Greg Meyer.                     coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Spurs 50 greatest players. 10 minutes of nostalgia, snow, grainy footage, just in time for Xmas Enjoy. Another offering from Spurs Community courtesy of Alamo via You tube. After this video stops there is a further link to the next batch.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Spurs back to stay.

Didn't Daniel audition for Father Xmas this year? 
Red doesn't suit him and he's got his own costume for Scrooge.
The JimmyG2 Column
 Have we got our Spurs back at last? Not quite, but I think I heard the team bus scrunching up the gravel drive and the doorbell ring. Possibly the best 97 minutes continuous play so far this season and a third clean sheet courtesy once again of Monsieur Hugo who, as Michu will confirm, is certainly punching well above his weight.

Of course this may only have been a courtesy call and there may be no plans for a long term stay. The visits of have been fleeting at best this season though they are always warmly welcomed and encouraged to make longer and more frequent bookings.

In the past they have been known to take up an almost permanent residence. But there have been indications of late that they might be considering moving back in. So whether they just dropped for afternoon tea and Welsh Rarebit in the Palm Court or are considering taking up the Lillywhite Suite which is always on reserve for them remains to be seen

That's apart for a few idiot 'boo-boys' of course who have the attention span of a new born and demand instant gratification for their every whim. 'I want my nappy changing. When do I want it? Now!'.  Which bit of 'transitional' and rebuilding under a new Head Coach do they not understand? None of it probably.

Our injury problems are well documented and the departure of Van Der Vaart and Modric essentially ripped the creative heart from the team. Our progress has not just been good 'considering', it has been good, full stop. If we were to start playing some consistently proper football then everything is possible.

Swansea in fact are our sort of team. Civilised and urbane they try to play the right way. They had very limited ambitions which they completely achieved . They would have been thankful for a point and were sent away empty handed after a classy, instinctive finish by Jan Vertonghen from a set piece. They seemed thankful that they didn't get thrashed. But we don't do thrashed these days.

Apart from Defoe who when he doesn't score can be a liability this was a decent team performance.The back four, including Naughton played well, Dembele and Sandro were solid, Adebayor was lively but not in places that could really do damage to Swansea's packed defence. He tried though which was good to see.

Lennon was extremely busy but mainly doing nothing, isn't it just a crime? We'd like to be unhappy but......Sorry just remembered one of my favourite Bing Crosby songs from a 1949 Hollywood film. So indulge me why don't you.

Townsend, an Aaron clone, fizzed like a fire cracker and drew three fouls in as many minutes. The first of these produced the free kick, well delivered by Walker which produced the goal. Dempsey reverted to his former ordinariness and Siggy sparkled briefly and looks ready for a start in his place.

They hardly laid a glove on us all game The closest  they came was a cheeky 50 yarder by Michu which landed on the roof of the net. We harried and closed them down before their passing game could wear us all out and apart from the first ten minutes we controlled the match.

Enthusiasts of 'deja vu' thought we were seeing a re-run of an old Spurs favourite the 'Dominate But Fail to Score Saga' but we had commissioned a new ending. Last week we gave a new twist to the 'Last Ten Minute Rocky Horror Show' where we take the lead and then lose two goals in extra time. But we are hoping to put that one firmly in our back catalogue.

So it's on to Xmas and Stoke at The Lane which completes our third six game unit. I was hoping for 12 points from this batch and just a point against Stoke would top this prediction. Fourth at Xmas was my other requast to Santa and this might just be nestling in our stocking on Xmas morning.So far all this without Benny, Scotty and The Bull.

Our next six which takes us up to February sees us at home to Reading and Manchester Utd. and away to Aston Villa, Sunderland, QPR and Norwich. Another dozen points shouldn't be beyond us and a continuing presence in or around the Champions' League places looks distinctly possible.

Next Transfer window.
Looking distinctly opaque at the moment.You can never get a window cleaner when you want one. We need another striker and a creative midfielder. To be honest I'm not certain that we will get either given price inflation in January and our Chairman's pathological fear of being over charged.

Why would top class players leave their clubs if they are still in the Champions' League? Being in fourth during the window might tempt somebody. Dzeko or Ballotelli anyone?

Last Transfer Window.
Looking pretty damn good. Lloris, Vertonghen and Dembele all top class and cheap.
Siggy might just turn out to be the dark horse and Caulker's clearly a tempting bet for the long term.. Dempsey I'm not convinced yet but look forward to being proved wrong.

AVB might have over achieved and given Daniel an excuse to keep his wallet firmly in the safe.
You didn't think he carried his wallet around with him did you? What in Tottenham?

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Just a bit of Xmas nonsense from Spurs Official Site showing some team and Xmas spirit in N17 which is heart warming to see. But then I'm a sucker for this sort of stuff  and should really know better by now.
Lets's pretend it's not all about the money. After all it is The Season of Goodwill.

Merry Xmas to both our readers.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Clock ticking for Spurs.

 It's only statistics Andre
We might not even have a problem
The JimmyG2 Column
Life and logic tells us that if there is a problem there must be a solution. We've all read the crushing statistic that if games were 80 minutes long we would be top. But what does it tell us about THFC; the players, the Head Coach, fitness, tactics, attitude or indeed anything at all?

I won't bore you with how many late goals we've conceded, and in consequence how many points we have lost and how many minutes after a substitution are made before we concede. The answers to these questions are lots, lots, and not many.

 But the starkness of these stats and the dire effect on our league position suggest that there must be an explanation, an underlying cause, an identifiable reason which leads to the idea that it can be fixed.

Of course we've been through all this before in the early years of the current Millennium. The infamous lack of mental strength, something deep within the DNA of Spurs which prevented us from achieving anything. But it didn't stop us in the 60's and DNA doesn't normally change over such a short time frame if at all. If I was Watson or Crick I wouldn't be writing this in the first place.

But recent success and the upgrading of the squad by recruiting experienced and more robust players seemed to have put this spurious theory to rest. It's easy to jump to conclusions. New manager: return of old problem; it must be AVB's fault.

But we were away to a team playing well, unbeaten at home, who we haven't beaten for several years at their place. They edged the game although possession was split and we were lucky to go ahead from a deflected shot by Dempsey.

 Andre made some logical changes, Dembele was struggling and needs to be protected. His replacement Sigurdsson almost clinched it with a shot that hit the bar which would have made it 2-0; result cut and dried. Falque came on for Defoe who had done little and neither of these changes indicated that we were going into bunker mode. Huddlestone replaced Lennon who was not doing much which was a logical shoring up procedure and he did nothing amiss.

1-0 with 15 minutes to go, team and Head Coach look like pulling off a coup. Whatever happens in the next 15 minutes cannot wipe out what went before in terms of overall strategy by the manager and performance by the team in this game or over the season. But Spurs by now must know that the clock is ticking once again.

They start to hit the ball long and we defend deeper, whether by tactical plan or the inevitable tendencies of the players we don't know. After all it's worked before. Cue Caulker who is promising but young to ignore Lloris for the second time with dire results. Piennar heads in powerfully from a cross probably intended for Fellaini. Lloris could or maybe even should have done better.

When were at 0-0 on 75 minutes I'm thinking: 'Ok decent point, all good'.
On 76 minutes Dempsey scores I'm thinking,' Thank you lord, I accept the three points if you insist but I'm not sure that we deserved it, but who cares'.

0n 90 minutes they equalise and I'm thinking, 'Expletive deleted. OK that seems about right'.
On 92 minutes they score from a series of mishaps and luck, I apologise to Mrs JimmyG2 for the language, she had removed the cat to safety when they equalised, and ponder on life and the meaning of everything.

The replay of the last goal shows that we don't even clear the six yard box let alone the penalty area. We don't pressure the throw in near the half way line. They get a fortunate assist from an overhead kick by Piennar and an instinctive finish by Jelavic which we were hoping was offside. But it wasn't.

2-1 to Everton, historical statistical predictions justified. We lost to a team that played better on the day; we were lucky to go ahead and unlucky to lose. The manner of the loss provokes all sorts of questions none of which can be positively attributed to anyone in particular or which demonstrate any particular failure of strategy.

As Jimmy Greaves remarked, 'It's a funny old game' It's also a very fluid fast moving game which usually proceeds on the basis of a whole string of accidental events and mistakes. The better the team the more likely you are to make fewer of them and reap the benefit from them.

I'm not saying there is nothing to be done or adopting a stoical acceptance of fate. We could train harder; use the available players more to prevent tiredness and injuries; sack the coach; buy better players; appoint a sports psychologist; pray; go on the offensive more in the last ten minutes of games, pick Gallas to replace Jenas as scapegoat and then drop him.

The answer could be none or all of the above. I'm not even certain that there is a specific problem let alone what the answer is. As every man and his four legged friend has a different analysis then whatever solution we decide upon and apply could make things worse.

Trying to contain a game of football, or worse a whole series of games of football, within a precise analysis is like trying to put a condom on a trifle. Trust me, I know. Don't ask. It doesn't improve the trifle or prevent conception. If you have a theory then I'd be glad to hear it, and so would AVB. Of course the answer could be 42.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Well here is the horse's mouth explaining yesterday's defeat. Make of it what you will. Hectic programme; welcome rest; improve organisation; attention to detail; luck; belief, whatever. He's got no more idea than me, or you, to be fair. 'Events dear boy, events'. Shit happens everywhere: ask Man. City or West  Ham. And that's only yesterday's games.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Spurs master plan takes shape.

Hang on to that thought Andre
 until we actually get somewhere.
 The JimmyG2 Column
You know when two kids are having a race in the street and the big kid  dashes off into the distance and the little one moans and says 'It's not fair. Wait for me'. So the big kid waits for the little one to catch up and then runs off again laughing? Well that's Tottenham that is against Panathinaikos.

It could be an innate sense of fairness deep in the Spurs psyche, or sympathy for the Greeks in particular what with the economic crisis and all, or happy memories of lazy holidays on the Greek islands,  or just shopping up Green Lane. Whatever it was we sprinted ahead, allowed them to catch up and then ran away laughing.

We eventually got through to the next round of the Europa with no more than the usual Tottenham alarms. In the end it was easy enough with plenty of positives and just the odd semi-negative. Adebayor and goal machine Defoe both scored well taken goals. I'm not sure that you could describe them as having played well together but they ploughed their own furrows and played well separately.

Lennon set up Defoe with a fine run and Dempsey once again got into the assist charts with a well timed through ball to Ade. He is improving with each game and small print in the Bill of Sale from Fulham looks as if it won't require legal intervention. He will not be credited with the goal because his strong header after a good run across the area to meet a free kick by Walker hit the bar and rebounded off the keeper into the goal. So make that one assist and just a moral goal to Clint.

Only needing a draw we set off at a very slow and casual pace and nearly lulled ourselves into a false sense of security after Ade had put us ahead on half an hour.  Then Naughton lost his winger and Zeca equalised with a header soon after half time. They were busier than us for a time but we stirred ourselves and left them behind in the end. At 1-1 there was just the one heart stopping moment when Toche  prodded just wide.

Let it be said that in his defence Naughton is not a left back. He played well at Fulham at right back where he had the support of Lennon who fulfils his defensive duties commendably. He often waves Walker away with a cheery, 'I've got this, Kyle' signal. Not so on the other wing where Bale, and last night Dempsey gave Naughton little support. He dwelt almost disastrously on the ball a couple of times and completely lost his man for the goal.

But how well did Assou Ekotto perform when asked to play at right back? Not very. Naughton is probably not as good as Rose who has been playing well for Sunderland but that doesn't make him the disaster that many Spurs fans claim. He could be a useful back up to Walker who has been inconsistent this season though he is returning to form in the past few games.

That's the semi negative. One positive is another decent performance from Tom Carroll who was busy, composed and efficient once again. His tackling is bordering on woeful and he sometimes overdoes the attempted killer ball but when he is confidently making himself available and recycling the ball quickly he is impressive and he certainly never hides.

All the usually sound players were.. well sound; Sandro, Caulker, Vertonghen especially. Caulker glides about without making any distinct impression but he does what he's required to do calmly  and that's probably a good thing. Lennon made several good runs and was chopped down at least twice for his trouble.

I read somewhere that we are the only English team to progress to the next stages of the European competitions unbeaten and if so it is just reward for AVB's serious approach to the by some.

You know what they say about class and form. This certainly applies to Adabeyor who put in a better shift than on his last Europa run out and who makes the game look deceptively easy at times. Perhaps too easy for his own reputation. Lazy and relaxed are definitely not the same thing.

So back to Premiership reality on Sunday at Everton where I might be expected stick with my, 'Take a draw now' philosophy against teams in or around us in the league. But the team is beginning to play better, is on a bit of a roll, four wins in four. With Lloris in goal, Defoe up front and Sandro and Dembele in midfield we have nothing to fear and I think we will win it 2-1.

Is everybody happy? Probably not. This is Spurs after all. All the bits of the master plan are not quite assembled yet but it's slowly taking shape. We are still fighting on all fronts and getting key players close to return. We seem to be heading in the right direction and who knows where we might end up.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
A lovely piece by an American fan on his personal tour of The Lane. Real tears and everything. Six minutes of pure emotion that only proper football fans can appreciate, Tottenham fans in particular obviously.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Early Christmas Joy for Andre.

 Not available in red this year.
The JimmyG2 Column
 'I've got AVB's Xmas list here Santa. Siggy's dropped it off at the Grotto on his way home.
  1.  4th on Xmas day.
  2.  No new major injuries.
  3. Stabiliser wheels for Gareth.
  4. Chocolates for Moussa and Jan.
  5. Slippers for Brad.
  6.  Clean sheets for Hugo.
'Hmm thats pretty modest. Slip a few of those free gifts in Rudolf'.

The elves are busy filling sacks and stockings. It's busier than Amazon on Cyber Monday. Santa has been a closet Spurs fan since 1988 when Gudni Bergsson, his next door neighbour in Reykjavic, signed for Spurs. Not many people know that. Santa hums 'I'm dreaming of a Lilywhite Xmas' as he checks the list.

And that was why AVB got all his Xmas presents early and wrong footed me completely, not for the first time. But seriously, who'd be a Spurs blogger? We lose four out of five Premiership games and drop down to eighth. I quickly locate my Doomsday Spectacles, which to be fair I always keep handy and we win three games in seven days and bounce back to 4th. 'Santa Claus is coming to White Hart Lane' can be heard in the background

We score 8 goals and concede only 2 and keep a clean sheet against Fulham with Lloris now firmly established in goal. Since Adebayor's sending off and three match ban we are unbeaten in four including a clean sheet and draw against Lazio in the Europa League. Cue Elvis Presley's 'Blue Christmas'.

Defoe has scored four and doesn't appear to notice that AVB has sent him out to play on his own with only the improving Dempsey to protect him from the big boys. Sigurdson made a more promising appearance and set up Defoe for the second against Fulham with a stylish turn and cut back. Strains of 'I believe in Father Xmas'.

Naughton played well at right back; Dembele took another step on the road to recovery and Sandro doubled his Spurs goal tally with a speculative drive from distance to brighten up what had been until then a tedious stalemate enhanced only by the magic of that man Berbatov. Listen is that 'Silent Night, at The Emirates'.

Of course there were minor setbacks. I mean Santa can't make it too obvious. Bale was harshly booked for diving and went off with a hamstring injury. Dawson who has clearly got on the wrong side of the elves in some way also stretched something or other. Reports suggest that neither will be out of action for more than a couple of weeks. 'O Come O Come Emmanuel'

Parker is rumoured to be back on the training ground and might be available before Xmas to give Sandro a break. Benny too is not far off which will enable Vertonghen to take up his favoured position alongside Caulker with Gallas as back up for the time being. Welcome our very own 'Christmas Carroll'.

Things are looking increasingly rose tinted by the day. A draw in our home fixture against Panathinaikos on Thursday ensures our progress in the Europa and we've been drawn at home to Coventry in the next round of the F.A.Cup. Santa you really are spoiling us. We seem to be 'Playing in a Winter Wonderland'.

The Press pack is now focused on Arsene Wenger, Rafa Benitez and of course on Harry who has started to believe his own hype and has taken on the task of saving QPR from relegation. Good luck with that Harry. He asked for the England job last year but Santa wanted him to stay at White Hart Lane. Well you can't always get everything right. So now 'All we want for Xmas is two top, top players'.

Most importantly AVB is no longer on the radar and is off the 'three matches to save his job watch' for the foreseeable future. So thanks for all that Santa. Early delivery of all our wish list and a few of your own. Xmas comes early to Andre and Tottenham. What about ' The Twelve points of Xmas' Santa?

Jimmy's Video Spot..
The dive that never was: the goals: the assists and Sandro's solo.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Can Andre fix it?

It just gets going and then it suddenly stops.
Can you fix it?
The JimmyG2 Column
 Here on 'The Musings' we always try to find the positives and when you win your second game in a week and go back to fifth above Everton and Arsenal to be just 3 points off the Champions' League places they are not that hard to find.
And yet anyone who is happy about the way we are playing is far too easily pleased. 'The Musings' have never subscribed to the 'a win is a win philosophy'. We were raised on the Danny Blanchflower attitude that, "The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish.''

Nobody could accuse Spurs of doing things with 'style and with a flourish' consistently this season. Except in very short bursts as we did against Liverpool, Arsenal, Man.Utd and several other games. The question remains, will we put in a full 90 minute effort anytime soon?
A motoring friend tells me that modern cars boast something known as 'Stop/Start' technology. In short this means that when you take your foot off the clutch at traffic lights the engine goes to sleep only to instantly burst into life when you put your foot back down again. I am not convinced that this is a good idea especially in rural communities where there are no traffic lights.But I digress.
I think that something similar has been installed at Tottenham. As in the Arsenal game we had a 20 minute burst, went two goals up and then reached the traffic lights. Against Arsenal it was more of a road block manned by the police but never mind. I'm sure it works really well in cars.
Against Liverpool we didn't even have the excuse of going down to ten men. The decision to take our foot of the pedal was either tactical or the result of playing a midfield consisting of Sandro who had been stretchered off on Sunday against West Ham and Dembele making his first start for eight games and not not being quite match fit.
 He was blowing hard well before the hour and should have been substituted earlier. But another legend continues: Dembele starts /Spurs win.There's just no arguing with the facts.
In any event the engine spluttered and nearly died. We defended deeper and deeper and hacked the ball out of defence more and more aimlessly. Dawson defended stoutly and led us to our second win running under his captaincy but he was as guilty as anyone of giving the ball back to the opposition.
Even when we were dominating the first 20 minutes, Liverpool had two good chances to score. Suarez shot too close to Lloris and Henderson should have punished Hugo when he made an ill judged sprint outside his box and the ball broke free after Walker's intervention.
Lennon scored the first on 7 minutes when he tiptoed quietly in behind full back Downing to the back post, knocked out his pipe and awaited the arrival of Bale's cross following another thrilling run. If it had been at Anfield the crowd would have been shouting 'He's behind you'. Well it is that time of year. 'Full back Downing', it makes you smile just to think about. it.
  So the Lennon scores /Tottenham win legend also continues. Bale scored the second himself on 17 minutes from a free kick just outside the area. The swerve or deflection fooled Reina as he moved to his left hand post. 2-0 up, home hoodoo well and truly broken.There was no change of direction as it passed the Liverpool wall  and it was swerving from the start. I'm in the swerve camp.
But once again we moved into the slow lane and Liverpool passed us to death but couldn't break down the back line.They had 65% of the possession away from home but hadonly one more shot than Spurs over the whole game. Four of Liverpool's players hit the 50 pass mark an achievement which not one of our players managed. 
 Defoe had less than a dozen touches of the ball and one of those was the kick off. Another was when he robbed Gerrard on the half way line, which is certainly a first, to set up Bale for a shot that passed across the goal. Bale also had a free kick on target that Reina struggled to save.
But we came away with the three points and only the purists will be at all concerned. But playing badly is not a recipe for long term success. Winning ugly is all very well now and then and I hope that our league position is not used as a smokescreen to avoid addressing some of our shortcomings.We are living very dangerously.
 A third win in a week away against  Fulham tomorrow looks on the cards.  This week's home wins have taken our home record surging past our previously superior away performance. Berbatov, Dembele and Dempsey are all reunited with their previous owners. Should be fun. Style and flourish required please.

Home: Played.8.Won 4/Drawn2/Lost 2. Scored 13/conceded10
Away:..Played.6.Won3/Drawn.0/Lost 3. Scored 12/conceded13.
Goal difference 2 (the worst in the top half apart from Stoke). Points 23.
Cheeky claim of the week (New Feature)
Lennon claims  an assist for the own goal to finish the game on a par with Bale.
Interesting statistic that might indicate something very important.
The 1-0 defeat to Wigan at the start of the month is now the only time we have failed to score at home in the last 32 Premier League games at White Hart Lane, a run which stretches back to March 2011.( Courtesy Bleacher Report)

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Gareth's the man at both ends of the pitch against Liverpool. Stand out Man Of The Match. Mr.Mourinho eat your heart out; for now anyway.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Driving Home with Sandro

Not that sort of Brazilian Miss Prendergast
  I meant get Neymar or Leandro on the phone.
 The Greg Myer Column
Wednesday 28 November 2012.
I Drove Home With Sandro ... Liverpool At The Lane.
 Driving home from work on Monday night I had that Sandro Ranieri playing on the radio. You know the one featured on youtube over the summer with the Brazil Olympic team.
The guitar playing was accompanied by a very big grin on my face as I pondered events at West Ham at the Lane on Sunday. We have our Spurs back was a recurring thought. Sandro was immense, Clint Dempsey started to look like a player Liverpool were desperate to get in the summer. Lets hope he shows them what for later today.
The little ones played well. Jermain with a brace. Aaron the provider with one. Bale looked menacing as usual and scored one made in the USA. However our biggest grin was reserved for our Pub favourite Hugo. Another start and some increasingly confident , classy goalkeeping. Brad Friedel seems now to be second but what a true professional. Hope he stays. His presence as mentor, backup and all round good guy is immeasurable.
However with all that cockle warming stuff happening, and I'm not really sure they make, sell or grow cockles anymore, the real moment for our pub was the entry of another very impressive looking man.
A Belgian Blowing Bubbles.
Yes in fairness it should read 'Belgians', plural. Seems with our Croatian contingent vanishing off the face of the North London earth that the new flavour of the month is Belgian.
Jan Vertonghen and the aptly named Moussa Dembele. Jan whose versatility is such that to date he is our left back. Not ideal and when Benny is back the Bale service will be much enhanced. No criticism of Verts but he is a very accomplished centre back. Precise, poised and blessed with the gift of infallibility almost. However the quick transfer from back to front is not as evident when Benny is not there. But we digress and so to the excitement machine.
His style is not the Croatian variety.No dropped shoulder but certainly the explosive acceleration, a continuing powerful surge, opponents left in wake and a display of mesmerising close control.
The comparison between Luka and Moussa ends there. The Dembele end product has the capacity to conclude with a powerful and accurate shot on goal.No powder puff finishing a la Luka .True Luka was capable of a through ball exquisite. I wonder if 6 feet 1 inch as against 5 feet 9 inches has something to do with it. Moussa does look impressive.
Not like for like but our pub have overcome the Modric divorce. The power of our returning Belgian maestro is both thrilling and exciting. Surely his impending start against Pool will build on the Ham display.
A display where our pub truly thought its nice to have our Spurs back.
Meanwhile At A Kent Pub.
Spirits are high here. Not just the top shelf variety but belief in our Spurs. The void between us and Ham was demonstrable and encouraging.
If the defence can keep the obnoxious human being but very good footballer that scores all the goals for Liverpool quiet then we fancy Spurs this evening.
Spare a thought for those less fortunate. This time last year the three old wise men were in third place in the Premier with even the title beckoning. Fourth in the end.
Joe,Kevin and Harry survived the rain and weather at Sunderland last night.A long way from  operating at one of the biggest clubs in the world. If only ...
 Cheers ... fingers crossed won't be needed if the real Spurs turn up this evening ... Greg Meyer.      coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot:
Well here it is: Sandro on Guitar and Vocals, Neymar leading the Dancing. Be patient it takes them a little while to get organised. On the field Snarling Tiger. Off the field 100% Pussycat.

Monday, 26 November 2012

AVB keeps his head.

 That's OK Roman we'll give you a call
when we need it.
The JimmyG2 Column
 Andre managed to keep one step ahead of the tumbrils with an expected but welcome win at home to West Ham to keep the AVB Revolution on the road. Elsewhere the old women in the front row hardly had time to cast on their stitches before Roberto Di Matteo's head had dropped into the basket.

Fortunately Dan Levy has mellowed in his old age and is not looking to rival Abramovich for the role of chief executioner. Over at QPR Mark Hughes blood had barely congealed  before Harry arrived with his bag of potions, feathers and bones to work his magic on yet another twitching corpse. Good luck with that Harry. It should at least spice up yet another London derby.

We leapfrogged our racist friends from East London up to the giddy heights of Europa qualification with a performance that gets a hectic week of Premiership action off to a good start. Liverpool visit on Wednesday night and we have yet another London derby away to Fulham on Saturday.

By next Sunday the shape of our season could be emerging. But yesterday was a welcome beginning. Everything was better: the performances of the players especially Dempsey and Walker; the tactics adopted by AVB; the inclusion of Dawson for Gallas and Lloris for Friedel, the pace of the game and the cameo by Dembele.

Defoe is the living football embodiment of Gordon Gekko who asserted in the film 'Wall St.; that 'Greed is good'. It was just a minute before half time when he, Defoe not Michael Douglas, went on a single-minded run from the right touchline past several defenders, some more than once, until he could see no other option than to thump the ball into the West Ham net.

Good goal, good time to score. We dominated the game, scored three goals, hit the bar twice and even found time, in the last ten minutes once again, to give away a goal. This time though it didn't matter. Bale benefitted from a cute chip by Dempsey to score off the post. Lennon skipped away from the West Ham defence from another pass by Dempsey, before unselfishly squaring to give Defoe his second.

He ran across to share his joy with Aaron and acknowledged his debt in an after match interview. Not that it will make any difference to the way he plays.  He is far too old a dog now to learn such new tricks

Our passing was crisper and the 'tempo' as AVB has it, higher from the start. Bale and Sandro put in strong performances and Spurs fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief to find that that Sandro is not as seriously injured as first thought

 He even found the strength to wave as he was stretchered off and could be available for Wednesday. Half man, half machine. At the moment it's like playing with twelve men. I just hope that the FA don't notice.

Huddlestone too played a more prominent role and though everything is not quite back to some of the better performances under Harry this was a step in the right direction. With the proviso of course that West Ham were awful and Liverpool, who have some good players and should perhaps have more points on the board than they have, will be more difficult opponents.

The mobile Suarez will pose a bigger threat to our central defenders and Sterling would give Naughton a serious examination. I expect to see Vertonghen stay at full back for this one and the back line remain in place for a second match running. But with two Premiership games so close together I wouldn't be surprised at all to be surprised by the selections.

 But having thrown off our home anxieties I see this as another three points up for the grabbing. Lloris seems to have cemented his Premiership place and did well again with the little he had to do. He made one particularly agile grab of a ball across the box.

Caulker surpisingly ignored the clear call from the keeper to leave the ball to him and his poor and uneccessary clearance eventually led to Carroll scoring his first goal of the season. A pity all round. Like Crouch he wins most of his heading duels, 14 out of 18,  I read, but only once did the ball fall to a West Ham player.

But this was nothing less than better and better is good for the moment. It should instil greater confidence all round and particularly in players like Dempsey who have been under close scrutiny. He seems to be a more instinctive than thoughtful player and may have benefitted from the greater pace. He and Dembele might be kept for the return to their previousemployers.

So the baying journalists and some of the fans will have to wait quite a lot longer before AVB's head can be inspected on the end of a pole. They will have to make do for now with this week's other sacrificial victims to the Gods of Instant, or Possibly Sooner, Success.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Just a little bit of homage to one of my favourite Spurs players. He has his limitations but has remained at the club to fight for his place and seems to be back in favour again. I prefer him to Gallas but clearly his days are numbered with the emergence of Caulker and the inevitable return of Kaboul to partner Vertonghen if and when we get a reliable left back.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

That's one problem sorted anyway.

Can I put this goalkeeping problem chart away Mr. Boas?
I think we're at stage 8 after Lazio.
 The JimmyG2 Column
 So you would think that the Lazio game has put the great goalkeeping debate to bed at last. Lloris was outstanding, Spurs were very average but got away with a goalless draw putting them on the verge of qualification for the next round of the Europa.

 Another draw against Panathinaikos at The Lane and they are through with Lazio. Unless the Italians get disqualified for racist chanting and Nazi salutes. Don't hold your breaths.

A combination of Lazio's poor finishing and the brilliance, quickness and bravery of notre Hugo resulted in a clean sheet. Another wrongly disallowed goal for Spurs and a general lack of interest in getting into their box ensured that we were also scoreless and not a little clueless. So a fourth draw it was.

Away to a decent team on an an awful pitch provides excuses enough if you want them but nobody could argue that we played with too much desire, Sandro excluded of course, but he doesn't know how to play any other way. The back four looked tentative especially Naughton and surprisingly Caulker.

We maintained the high line in front of Lloris and he supplied the 'sweeping' support but it looked a little risky at times. They were offside nine times and relying on the officials is a doubtful strategy: they certainly got the Bale decision wrong for a start.

On the whole though especially when Lloris is playing I prefer it to the last ditch defense mode where we end up with half the team crammed into the six yard box. I wouldn't put all your money on Friedel not playing against W. Ham because as we know AVB can be a bit quirky and stubborn at times. He apparently vetoed Brad's alleged return to Blackburn so who knows.

Another sign of the times was the selection of Carroll ahead of Huddlestone. The boy did well, always on the move and looking for the ball. It was his through ball that set up Bale but his attempts to re-produce the killer pass went astray as the game progressed and he tried to force the game too much. Not a bad fault in a young player. Anything Hud can do....

Whether this is a permanent change is doubtful. Huddlestone has an increasing number of detractors but again AVB does not make sweeping changes in a hurry and I expect to see Big Tom back in the frame against W. Ham. Naughton was very hesitant and Gallas could play on Sunday with Vertonghen reverting to left back.

Dempsey brought little if anything to the party again and neither did Adebayor who has been lecturing the squad on what a dire situation we might find ourselves quite soon. As this is partly due to his stupidity against Arsenal I think a short period of silence would go down very well.

The re-appearance of Dembele was a hopeful sign and he might get an hour on Sunday. Sigurdsson played better against Lazio too showing both desire and skill and his longer term prospects at Spurs look more promising than Dempsey's. Apart from Bale though we didn't get a shot on target and our build up and passing lacked real quality.

News at home. (New feature)
Harry, (4 points from 12) Redknapp has been installed at QPR, less than 48 hrs after the sacking of Hughes. He will attempt to reprise his Harry Houdini escape routine which he did at Portsmouth and Spurs but which failed at Sunderland.

Signing Defoe could be on the agenda and one or two others. He has an expensive but uneven squad to sort out and I would not put any money on QPR staying up. I would be interested to hear Adel Taarabt's views on his arrival. He is the kind of maverick talent that might prosper under Harry, if he gets the chance.
At least we can be sure that Harry won't be coming back to Spurs any time soon.

News from abroad (New feature)
Two Lazio or possibly Roma 'ultras' have been charged with attempted murder after the attack by anything between 20 and 100 thugs, depending on which paper you read, in a bar before the Lazio game. The most badly injured fan is in a stable condition in hospital. The Italian authorities at football and government level have apologised officially and it remains to be seen if the matter will be followed through properly.

Progress report. points...5th place
!2 games... 17 points... 8th place.
Considering that we have lost four of our last 5 Premiership fixtures our position could have been much worse. I forecast, by which I meant hoped, that we would have 20 or more points by now but looking at the next 6 games I forecast, hope, that we will have another 12 points on the board and that we will be hovering around 6th place.
We have W.Ham, Liverpool, Swansea and Stoke at home, and Fulham and Everton away. If we have much less then the pressure will be building on AVB and the team. But what's new?

Interesting fact that may or may not be highly significant.
If games were 80 minutes long we would be second in the table to West Brom. (Courtesy 'The Guardian). I haven't checked this but it is The Guardian after all.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Highlights of the game. You might not think so from this but we actually had more possession. No sound I'm afraid which is a pity because the Spurs fans were in good voice.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Not all 5-2 defeats are the same.

Not the way I would have gone Andre
But it's your neck on the block .
The JimmyG2 Column
What are the chances of losing 5-2 to Arsenal for the second match running? 100/1 according to the bookies and some 125 fans, not all Arsenal supporters placed the bet. They had a more profitable afternoon than I did. Adebayor ruined not only the game but my weekend despite what AVB says to the contrary.

But all is not lost. From the wreckage of the latest North London Derby hope arises. It seems apparent that not all 5-2 defeats are the same. Last time I ended frustrated and angry at a two goal lead being given away. We didn't just concede that game, we capitulated and made ourselves look inept andlacking in spirit.

This time at the end I was relieved that it hadn't been worse and curiously proud that we had gone down fighting thanks to Andre's tactical changes at half time; by the inclusion of Lloris at last, and by the inclusion in the starting line-up of both Adebayor and Defoe.

And it seemed to be working. We were ahead and bossing the game. Lennon went close to getting a second, narrowly missing the far post with Szczesny beaten. At that point they hadn't had a look in and this was a proper Tottenham 17 minute cameo playing with style and pace.

But then disaster struck. Adebayor made a reckless challenge and was sent off. Not only was it reckless it was needless on the half way line with Cazorla facing his own goal. Too pumped up after scoring against former team? Who knows what goes through the minds of forwards when they attempt to tackle.

But it changed the game. Previously when we were ahead we have defended deep and increasingly desperately. But this time although a man short we eventually went three at the back, taking off the Kyle brothers and bringing on Dempsey to assist Defoe. Bale scored a fine solo goal and at 4-2 they looked unsure.

And if Bale had passed across the goal instead of trying to find the far post then it could easily have been 4-3 and anything might have happened. Instead we had the irony of seeing Jermain kicking the post in frustration at someone shooting when they should have passed. Pot, kettle friend: pot, kettle.

As someone put it, AVB earned his Spurs yesterday: in his team selection and formation; in his positive reaction to adversity and in his defense of Adabeyor. His assertion that we controlled the game at all times or that it wasn't Ade's fault are clearly ridiculous. But the man is really trying to do and say the right thing and I applaud him for it.

We fell to pieces for the 20 minutes between the sending off and halftime as uber pundit Gary Neville suggests and conceded 3 goals. This was the period when the game was finally lost. AVB clearly froze for a while there and could be seen checking his CV in his notebeook.

 Kyle Naughton was bamboozled by Walcott for the equaliser; Podolski's goal was a lucky deflection off Gallas. I'm not at all sure how Giroud scored the third and it should probably have been cleared. The fourth was a beauty dispatched by Cazorla. Huddlestone was involved in the first three goals, but not in a good way.

 As soon as other players are available I think he will be gone. His negatives out weigh his positives at the moment and Little Tom is snapping at his heels. When the invite to the party says 'Bring a bottle' it implies that the bottle should be full Mr. Huddlestone.

At that stage a slaughter was on the cards and the spirit of the team and the tactical re-organisation prevented that at least. We were understandably well beaten and yet I felt a lot better than I did after the last occasion under Harry who had the benefit of a full complement of players.

Friedel will play against Lazio and Lloris will be established as our Numero Uno at last. I'm not sure whether Brad would have saved any of the five goals, possibly the last one which came through yet another lunge by Dawson but he might not have been out as quickly as Hugo for the several interventions that he made. This resulted from a simple error by Vertonghen who had played well upto then.

Adebayor will also be available to play on Thursday and he owes us at least a hat-trick. Carroll made a decent showing and should start with Livermore unless he gets the nod for Sunday. Sandro lived up to his 'Beast' reputation  and deserves a rest before the next 'must win' game against West Ham.

So something of a turnaround for this Spurs fan. Lose heavily to the old enemy and yet positives are looked for and emerge. Usually, even when we win, I am quick to find a negative or two, because they are always to be found. But it's going to be a long, hard difficult season and AVB is going to need abit of help from all the friends he can muster.

So we certainly lost this particular battle but Harry on MOTD thinks that with the strong squad he left us with we should win the war and finish above Arsenal. He seems to have forgotten that our best two players have left. It's Harry's usual shtick of shaking hands with a smile on his face whilst knifing AVB in the back.

 'Cazorla top top player, he ran the game at the Lane when Villareal came two years ago ' Sigh,  nothing to do with me I'd have signed him on the spot look, shrug. How come he ended up at Arsenal then?

But if this game can bolster support for the Head Coach and bring the players together which is certainly what he is trying to do by refusing to blame Adebayor then who knows it might just work. Adebayor is as guilty as hell and it all smacks a little of desperation but this supporter is prepared to go along with it.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
AVB's theme tune at the moment. One of my particular all time favourites . The original 1968 recording of Joe Cocker and the Greaseband singing 'I get by with a little help from my friends'. Like Spurs, Joe comes and goes over the years but is definitely one of the true originals. Oh go on then Andre, I'll be your friend and give you whatever help I can muster.