The Blog that's not always wrong.

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.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Arsenal's Secret Dossier on Spurs.

What's on the menu for lunch tomorrow?
Try the Stuffed Frog Andre. 
The Greg Meyer Column
Derby Eve .. Friday 16 November 2012.
 Arsenal's Secret Dossier On Spurs ... The North London Derby.
Revelations fall from cyberspace almost like rain. So no surprise when the following turned up on our pub computer. All attempts at verification by our highly skilled team of technocrats have as yet proved fruitless. Translators have been enlisted as well given the seeming Gallic authorship. So what to do.
Our club motto ... " Audere est facere."... loosely translated at our pub as .. " Publish and be damned." ... Duke of Wellington shortly after England beat France in an International at the Waterloo Stadium circa 1815. And so to ..
Des Jottings A La Spurs ... La Derby Nord Londres.
Interplay between manager and head coach is expected and ahead of such a traditional encounter why not an email exchange between the two.
Bonjour Steve,
                    whilst ze team is not so bon or even bien at the back ( I am sure you are working on your leaking goals problem) I thought perhaps in mes comments on the spurs we should how you say .. regardez ... look out for.
                           I still blame Peter Hill-Wood for not picking him up when we also signed his Southampton ami , Theo, what a pretty name. Yes I know I am never wrong but surely Peter was to blame there. The Spurs certainly won that one game, set, and match completement.
                          Carl Jenkinson against Bale. We mustn't tell anyone but the water bottle could get a hammering. I trust you get my drift Steven. Stop Bale.
                         Ah Manny, how we used to love our Manny. Then he goes off to Manchester but zalors ... he is back in Londres.
                         It will just be quelle malchance that he scores against us as he did with City. Yes another danger rather than Le Petit they have been previously playing. Sil vous plait Steven I am just here to point these things out. You are the coach defense. Please sort it .
               La Lennon,
                         another one supposedly injured and now back. Yes even more petit than his bon ami Jermain but like our Theo tres rapide. As well seems to be trying a lot harder this year. Surely Andre, Santos not the other one , will concentrate on the football rather than shirt swapping. Steven again I am not sure you have this one solved. As ever I will of course remind the press of your credentials as our Coach defense. Hmm.
             Good News
                       from here on in it looks much more tres bien et facile.
                      an American legend but runs around like the American turkey ... one for us.
                      the turning circle is not la problem, mais non, c'est la speed of thought from brain to foot. ... another one for us.
                    Oops you say sous la radar. If the Brazilian is fit he can stuffe the game up for us entirely. Petit Carzola needs room but will not settle if Sandro is about. I will ask about to see if anyone has some ideas to help.
            For our eyes only.
                   Merci beaucoup Mousse is not playing. Pourtant where will our goals come from. Giroud, the german and the other useless winger, no not Theo, are very worrying. Perhaps if that lovely but akwardly useless nice Mr.Dawson plays we have a chance. Still Billy will be back with a grudge. Between him and Manny surely an away goal to them.
                As you know, thank heavens for little goals, my favourite Maurice Chevalier music, our new striker Theo can perchance do the magic. He did last time.
           Come home Robin. All Is Forgiven
               Excuse Steven ... perhaps too much of the Beaujolais.
    Bonne Nuit, Adiex mais non Au Revoir
Meanwhile At A Kent Pub.
  Make of the preview above as you will, nonetheless another North London Derby looms. If only Dembele could escape that Belgian Physio cell , 6 weeks now, then we would confidently predict a win here.
 Ifs are buts and buts are excuses. Surely no need. We think Arsene and Steve ( its only Steven when its his fault) are on the mark. If our speed merchants fire, if Emmanuel plays as he did versus City, and Sandro leads the defence then apart from fine English ale on saturday night it will be awash with Fench bubbly stuff here at our pub.
Not sure we need or want him these days but Paul Scholes turns 38 today. Yep a young Sandro will do us.
Cheers  ... nice to see Frankel and Black Caviar win Cartiers ... a Spurs derby win would top it off ... Greg Meyer.        coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot.
I think I've posted this one before but it 's worth re-watching. All Spurs goals from last season.  5 minutes of sheer quality. Could do with some of this tomorrow. If Bale's head is right, must be the sleepless nights, then we could be good to go. Greg is more confident than me. I'm sticking with 2-2. I have a sneaky feeling that Lloris will play. He might just make the difference.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Heat turned up another notch on AVB.

The North London Derby. 
Think about some thing else Andre.
It works for me.

The JimmyG2 Column.

So here we are again on the verge of yet another 'must win' game. I notice that Ex-Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn is saying the same. The only difference was that he thought it was a must win game for Arsenal. Looks as if one team is going to be disappointed. Unless it's a draw of course and then both teams will be disappointed

Now this 'must win' malarkey is just a journalistic method of hyping up a single game to make it seem like 'Gunfight at the OK Corall'. We lost to Chelsea and nobody died. Now that would have been a satisfying win for all sorts of reasons including settling personal scores for our Andre but with less than a dozen games on the clock no game is a 'must win'.

Once again the NLD is being talked up in these terms. Most 'must win' games are actually, 'better if we didn't lose' games. There is a case for saying that games against your traditional rivals, for geographical or historical reasons, include bragging rights which make them more important but that's not the same thing.

Whether he or the players will feel the heat more than for the Chelsea game is open to doubt.It's not exactly a local derby for most of the boys. But you know what they say about  being unable to stand the heat Andre. Keep calm and carry on squatting friend, I'm right behind you.

Arsenal are not doing well at the moment but if they were to win they would overtake us in the Premiership. A good stimulus to try to win it. A win would keep us clear and keep us in touch with the leaders including Chelsea who are down to third. As it's the first game of the weekend we would be just 4 points behind. Not bad considering all the doom and gloom amongst Spurs fans

It would also help us regain our confidence and  keep our manager's head above the rising flood waters after a poor week in the Premiership. It would fend off the inevitable Doom Sayers; the Bayers for AVB's blood, the 'Bring Back Harry' trolls; the 'It's all Levy's fault' for not signing a fit replacement for Modric, or any comparable replacement whatsoever for Van Der Vaart,; for selling Berbatov, Carrick, Kevin- Prince Boateng and Jimmy Greaves to West Ham in the 70's

The chronology seems to have gone a little haywire here but it's the same gravy just a different roast. 'Must win' clearly breaks down then into different categories. This upcoming game is a, 'Wouldn't it be really nice for everyone concerned and for all sorts of reasons, if we could go to The Emirates, catch The Gunners at a low moment and get three valuable points on the board' sort of game.

'Must win' games usually take place at the end of the season against fellow relegation rivals in the proverbial 'six pointer'. This is not a position we have been in for several years and even if we are not firing on all cylinders at the moment nobody has mentioned the 'R' word. Not within range of my hearing anyway.

Now as you know I never make predictions, not in advance anyway. Both teams are missing players, Dembele is definately out for us, the eighth game he's missed. Both teams are struggling a bit, them slightly more than us. They have home advantage. We have Willy Gallas itching to beat his former team-mates but it didn't work against Chelsea.
So it looks like 2-2 then, to the satisfaction of nobody.

Talking Point of the Day (1) (New Feature)
The boy Caulker. Done well on his debut for England. He was playing against one of the best strikers in Europe.  He looked fairly comfortable all considered, scored a goal on debut and kept  Ibrahimovic down to one goal until subbed for Shawcross on 74 minutes.
Within  3 minutes Zlatan had scored again and 15 minutes later had added another two,  the last of which was one of the finest goals I have ever seen. At least Steven could watch and admire it from the bench.
Now all that could have been just a coincidence obviously but let's not take our rose tinted bi-focals off just yet.
He's a Yid (Oops!) and I quite like the boy.He's composed and his first thought is usually positive.
Will he ever be as good as Ledley (the King) King. Well he's only 20 so let's give him a chance.

Talking Point of the Day (2) 
 Should Hugo Lloris be our No 1 keeper?
Without one smidgen of a scintilla of a shadow of a doubt. That's an unqualified 'Yes' then.

The above two players could be Spurs stalwarts for years to come unless Hugo gets pissed off by Xmas and signs for Arsenal. Remember you read it here first, unless you've already read it somewhere else. That Arsene Wenger knows a good French player when he sees one.
  1. Trivial Pursuits helpline (Yet another new feature)
England debut scorers: Which players in the last 10 years scored in their debut game?
Your starter for (10) Steven Caulker.
David Nugent (2005). Shaun Wright-Phillips (2004), Francis Jeffers (2003) and Kieran Richardson (2004) are the most recent England debut scores. Welcome to a not very exalted company Steven.
Jimmy Greaves and Alan Shearer did so as well  so not too bad over all. 
In fact JimmyG1, my hero, scored on his debut at every level, I think.

Jimmy's Video Spot:

'Stiffen the sinews; Summon up the blood'.
Nothing like a bit of Henry V to get us in the mood for the NLD.
May the best team win unless it's them and then a lucky o.g.. to clinch it for us will do or even a dodgy penalty decision. Not that we'll need either of course.

With thanks to HotspurFC1950 and those nice people over at Spurs Community.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lights, Camera, Inaction.

Let's get this show on the road
before the wheels come off good and proper

The JimmyG2 Column
As weeks go this was one of the more forgettable ones. The curtain rose on a tragedy at home to Wigan. An entertaining side show followed against Maribor but the week ended in a disappointing flop in Manchester at the main event. At least we weren't booed off the stage.

Even Maribor was marred by a scene from the Theatre of the Absurd where Naughton and Lloris in a brief two hander contrived to give our average opponents the prize of an away goal at WHL. Something they can store in their memories if not in their trophy cabinet.

Defoe took the starring role and helped himself to a hat-trick. The Big Tom, Little Tom side-show made its first appearance, was well received and had some favourable reviews but as AVB discovered you get no plaudits for doing what everyone expected you to do in the first place.

The Etihad was the biggest   and at the end we fluffed our lines and corpsed. Big Tom kept his place but Little Tom was a mere understudy this time. In Act 1 the boy Caulker stepped up under the spotlights and converted a Big Tom free kick.

In Act 2 one of the many multi million stars hanging around the Auditorium equalised. In Act 3 Just as the Fat Lady was clearing her throat yet another multi million pound bit part player delivered the funeral oration. We were beaten by our own timidity and the power of money.

Sandro returned and took centre stage; Adebayor delivered his lines with style and grace and Caulker performed with a presence that belied his youth. The other members of the ensemble all vied with each other for the role of anti hero. Dempsey a mere shadow of his former Fulham self won that particular critics award by some distance.

We have slipped down to 7th in the Premiership just behind er.....West Brom and West Ham. Next up on our little tour are Arsenal and if we lose that, and we well might, then AVB will be barely ahead of the baying crowd demanding their money back.

 If you don't want to see our descent into MTM (Mid Table Mediocrity) then look away now. It could be a bloodbath in the final act that will put Hamlet to shame.

So it might get worse before it gets better and it might not get better until after the Pantomime season. Not until some or all of Kaboul, Parker, and Benny return; until Lloris takes up his rightful position in goal;  Adebayor takes a leading role and until Levy backs his manager in the next window.

All this tactics bollocks is to a large extent...bollocks. Mancini outwits AVB? No he just selects another from his retinue of strolling players a leaner, hungrier, taller super sub to deliver the coup de grace. Duly selected and delivered.

Football is basically a simple game but no player at whatever age or level has ever been told to 'fuckin run abaaht a bit'.  Not even under Harry. You have one tall idiot in goal who isn't even a proper footballer. In front of him you have three or four people whose job is basically to interfere with the opposition attempts to make the game entertaining.

Two or three fetchers and carriers who help out wherever they can, forward or back and a couple or three, whoever is left over, attackers who try to combine to whack the ball past the tall crazy guy at the other end.

In the past we have tried to do this with a certain style and grace but this is not obligatory as many teams even in the Premiership prove. It's not that difficult,  demonstrated by the fact that even footballers become quite good at it.
 This is going to be a behind the sofa season as this week has demonstrated. If you can't stand the heat leave the washing up to somebody else. AVB could have put Little Tom in for Man. City but he hasn't got the breathing space from fans or results to be that adventurous. Perhaps the players need to improvise a bit more, go off script or even off plot if necessary, express themselves a little but without falling off the stage.

AVB needs to check on his credit rating at the Bank of Daniel Levy and if he's solvent he needs to be bold and keep it simple until help arrives after Xmas and I include Dembele, Parker and Kaboul in the cast list. There are quite a few young talents backstage who might be willing and able to step up.
Caulker , Falque and Carroll have already shown promise at audition.

Let's get the show back on the road. The rehearsal period has gone on long enough. At the moment it's 'Lights, Camera, Inaction'. The prompt copy needs amending otherwise the curtain will fall on AVB's brief Tottenham career which is not what 'Musings' want at all.

Jimmy's Video  Spot.
Brave header from Caulker (0-1). Unfortunate assist for the equaliser from Walker. (1-1)  Dawson  asleep  with 3 minutes to go (2-1)
 All the goals but no sound. Do your own commentary why don't you.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Dear Santa: Love Andre

Well then, how about, not too bad occasionally
 all things considered?
The Greg Meyer Column
 Saturday 10 November ... Remembrance Eve.
Dear Santa ... Love Andre.
 A drop of the shoulder, a sideways glance to the left, a surge forward to the right and he's away and through. Ahead the inviting midfield space opens up after that magic moment of midfield engineering. Ahead more challenges but there is now space appearing where moments ago there had been a seemingly composed and compact opposition defence. 
Panic heretofore non existent now emerges and defensive decisions previously so automatic are now being challenged. Perhaps you might say the start of an incisive and threatening if not goal scoring opportunity is fast moving from still born to .... Goal!!
Lately and most recently against Wigan the sight of anyone in our midfield having either the ambition, courage or just plain skill to take a run at the opposition has been minimal or about as likely as Heurelho Gomes starting against Man City. Or even Hugo Lloris, unfortunately says our pub lawyer. C'mon Andre put him out there.
Our Croatian readers will recognise the footballer easily described in the opening paragraph. As well our Belgian brigade will recognise shades of Mousse Dembele. And yes our limited Portuguese readership well may recognise a certain Jaoa Moutinho as fitting the bill completely.
Day Friday 9 November. Time ..1 am.  Place ..Nearby North London. Present .. A Very Fast Computer and a reflective Andre Villas Boas.
Never completely relaxed but a first home win in Europe has settled the nerves. However Maribore are not Wigan and Man City, and guess who looming away shortly.
So what's to ponder?. Not the goalkeeping area. Yes the press English and particularly French keep harping on about an American and Frenchman. Andre is content to allow nature to take its course. Hugo will be full time and unchallenged later this season. Kyle Naughton may not. Sure you gather our pub drift.
No there are other areas of concern not helped by a Chairman who does seem to fall short at critical moments when signing the cheque looms. A striker short. A  class midfielder possibly a bridge too far.
Its enough to cause one to put finger to keyboard and so emerged the following missive (allegedly) ...
Dear Santa,
                I know its a bit early but its me Andre again.
               Thank you for the new bike with rollers for Benedita. Yes Carolina still has the Ronaldo doll. Joana Maria liked the new fashion outfit.
               As for me the job interview with Mr Levy went well.
  Unfortunately a little after that your magic seems to have run out.
               Yes it's early but could you perhaps give urgent consideration to this Xmas and bring delivery forward.
               At present I am saddled with a midfielder blessed with the turning circle of the Queen Mary. His speed has been measured as below that of Stephen Hawking on low power. I hasten to add no criticism of your Brazil and Belgian presents.  Still a toy without batteries much like a midfielder without fitness.
              Actually I do have little Tommy Carroll , not to be confused with the other Tommy, who unfortunately is still young enough to believe in Santa Claus. Oh that's you of course. Then where does that leave me at the age of 34.
              Back to the serious business of you giving and me receiving. After all I have been very good so far. Very near the top four and going okay in Europe. Most importantly we are ahead of you know who.
             So at your earliest Mousse back sooner and Jaoa to join him soonest. A decent striker just to round things off.
            Feliz Natal    Andre and Family.
Not Quite Christmas At A Kent Pub.
The attitude here is somewhat equivocal. Right behind Andre but anymore of that horrible Wigan football and we might take up golf or full time drinking.
Maribore Thursday was better although whilst he did well, hardly the coming of Modric just yet. Still Tom Carroll is progressing.
A draw at City would be an improvement on last year and stop the rot in the Premier. With Dembele and Ade in the team then our ambitions would be for a win.
 Interesting birthdays today round our bar. Steffen Iverson, Jens Lehman ( never forget his shove on Robbie Keane meant a draw with Arsenal at the Lane) and Faustino Asprilla. Not a Columbian soft drink but a very exciting footballer.
Cheers... lets hope Remembrance Day is a good memory for Spurs at City ... Greg Meyer.    coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Tom Carroll. The boy's a winner. Some nice footage from Spurs TV of Little Tom beating Kyle Walker in the final of a FIFA competition in New York. Tom's the quiet one. Good spirit in the camp. How far can the boy go? All the way  we hope.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The (Boo) Boys are Back in Town

Ignore them Andres
 At least we've got away advantage for the next two games.
The JimmyG2 Column
Guess who just got back today?
Those wild Eyed (Boo) boys that've been away
Haven't changed, Haven't much to say
But man I still think them cats are crazy.

The Boo Boys are back in Town.
(With apologies to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy(edit)

The Boo Boys are back in town and as someone once said in another context, 'If they had a brain cell between them they would be dangerous. Have we got 2 points in eight games? No we've got 17 from 10. Are we struggling in the relegation zone? No we're sharing fourth place. Booing is not clever, it's not funny but most importantly it's counter productive.

Perhaps they are just climbing on the 'AVB out' bandwagon generated by the press. If they think that paying their entrance fee gives them the right to undermine the confidence of a manager and a team that are only slowlytrying to find the Tottenham Way then they are sadly misguided.

Perhaps it's just as well that the next two difficult games are away from home. The fact that our home record is inferior is a clear sign to the boo boys to shut up. I watched the Liverpool/Newcastle game yesterday Now there's a team in trouble. But the home crowd gave unrelenting backing to them and lifted the team throughout the game.

When the team isn't lifting the crowd perhaps it's the crowd's turn to lift the team.

If this is not the Chinese Year of Transition then it should be. AVB has been dealt a poor hand by Levy and injuries although I can't deny that he hasn't played his cards as well as he might. But you can't make a silk purse out of a cow's bum and ten games in is too soon to be making the kind of judgements that the 'Boo Boys' have made.

This is a demonstrably a poorer team than we have had in recent years. Friedel and Gallas are, these days, accidents waiting to happen whatever sterling service they have done in the past. Both were culpable for the Watson winning goal on Saturday. Walker seems to have peaked at a remarkably early age. Booing won't help him either.

Sigurdsson and especially Dempsey might well not be good enough and neither of them is Van Der Vaart.  Dembele when fit looks a decent player but he is no Modric. With four of our first choice midfielders, Parker, Dembele, Livermore and now Sandro injured AVB's options are even more limited.

We have able replacements in goal and at centre half and the sooner Vertonghen joins Caulker in the middle the better. Karl Naughton could play at right back or until Benny returns in place of Vertonghen on the left. None of this explains away the Wigan result, but it's not even the first time that we have lost to Wigan at home recently.

They are a well organised team playing under a bright young manager who was ironically deemed not good enough for Spurs by the terrace and internet experts.  On Saturday Wigan were a collection of average players whose whole was greater than the sum of its parts: Spurs were a collection of quite good players whose whole was less than the sum of its parts.

Nobody played well and apart from Vertonghen who got a difficult volley on the turn on target and Bale we hardly threatened. The loss of Sandro early on disrupted an already unimpressive midfield, Huddlestone struggled to find enough movement ahead of him to make positive passes and he was closed down well in any case.

Sigurdsson flitted about like a Halloween sprite and Dempsey seemed ineffective wherever he was supposed to be playing. Bale and Lennon promised much and delivered little. Carroll came on and was neat and tidy but doesn't look like a game changer at the moment.

The change that irked the Boo Boys was not leaving Defoe on when Adebayor made his appearance. But Defoe had hardly touched the ball in the first hour let alone make any significant passes.Whether he or Dempsey should have been subbed is the Head Coach's call to make.

So Andres, face down the Boo Boys and stop looking over your shoulder for the ghosts of West London. Get the team and the tactics sorted, stick to your guns and your systems and principles. Stop trying to keep everybody happy and make good use of this year of transition to sort out the team and the club. That's why you were appointed.

Remember you can't please all of the people all of the time and the Boo Boys are the last group that you should be trying to appease. The main problem is that nobody can deny that we are not playing well, whatever our position in the Premiership.

 The manager and the players are too inhibited by the fear of failure and the fans reaction to relax. Unless they do then the result will continue to be the stilted, disjointed performance we saw against Wigan. Let's have some good football to cheer and let the results take care of themselves. You can't boo while you're cheering.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
  Every time I feature a Spurs player on here they fail to perform so let's have some music instead.
Thin Lizzy, live, in 1983. More together than our boys and enjoying it too. 
Phil with his poor attempt at a Huddlestone Afro with 'The Boys are back in Town'.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

AVB's Cunning Plans.

The Best Laid Plans of Head Coaches and Chickens
Sometimes Go Astray

The JimmyG2 Column

So far this season we have played fourteen games in all competitions and kept just the three clean sheets. We have conceded 9 goals in the last third of matches, 7 of them in the final ten minutes. Last night we excelled ourselves and conceded two in the last 6 minutes and crashed out of the League Cup  to Norwich who hadn't looked too interested until Gareth crowned a good display with a goal just after the hour.

 In the league late goals have cost us 7 points (Newcastle, W.Brom and Norwich again). Now I like Chrissy Hughton perhaps more than the next man but this is taking Friends' Reunited one step too far. Just as you thought it was OK. to nip out early to avoid the crowds the curse of the late collapse returns to an arena near you. Not that anybody does leave early, except Arsenal fans at 4-0 down.

 The irony last night was that Vertonghen a very fine player indeed who was brought on to steady the defence fluffed his first clearance and then diverted a shot going wide into the net. He'd only been on for five minutes. Not quite what AVB had in mind.

Statistics eh. Don't ya just love 'em. Well I usually do when they back up what I'm saying otherwise I avoid them because they are slippery customers at the best of times. ( Lies, damn lies and statistics and all that.) So can we deduce anything from these stats?

Well it could be bad tactics involving poor or late substitutions; it could be a simple case of bad luck though the frequency suggests something a little more complicated at work. It could be our old friend 'lack of mental strength' escaping from the crypt where we thought the arrival of tougher guys and the loaning out of JJ  had buried it. Erik Thorstvedt suggested as much in his 'lacking steel' comment.

Actually your guess is as good as mine. Bringing Huddlestone on for Livermore changed the dynamic and brought a goal. Vertonghen for Carroll did the opposite. It's enough to make a Head Coach crouch on the touchline. Sandro wasn't playing last night but has been auditioning for the 'Iron Man' in his spare time.

I can hear some people saying, well it's a Micky Mouse cup, least of our priorities, frees up some space on the calendar, enables some of our fringe players to go out on loan ( Adam Smith to Millwall this morning for example). In fact a jolly good thing all round. In which case you wonder why we bothered in the first place.

But all that is beside the point. If you lose any game, at whatever level, in whatever competition, 'any place, any time, anywhere' especially when you were in a position to win it's embarrassing and indefensible. It sells the fans short; it belies AVB's words and the strength of the team we put out.

We certainly revert to a more defensive mind-set if not formation when we go ahead and it paid off at Man.Utd and Sunderland even if was our undoing in some of the other games. We asked for more tactical awareness, more better laid plans, after Harry and AVB certainly supplies that but on occasions it has blown up in our faces.

The either/or game:
From recent games. My preferences first:
Lloris/Friedel:.. Dawson /Gallas:.. Falque/Townsend:.. Carroll/ Livermore;.. Huddlestone/Carroll

Modric and Van Der Vaart/ Dempsey and Sigurdsson.
Just slipped that in to see if you were following my drift.
As Oscar Wilde nearly observed.
' To lose one of your best players may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness'.

AVB has spoken up in defence of Lloris who played well last night but who was at fault for their winner.
Expect to see Friedel in goal at home to Wigan.

Burning Question (1) : (New Feature)
Bale was on fire last night and scored a penalty for Wales under pressure recently.
Why did Dempsey take the penalty which would have at least offered us a chance in extra time?

Know your football History: (New Feature) 
The League Cup:
(Variously known as the Milk Cup; the Littlewoods Cup; the Rumbelows Cup; the Coca Cola Cup; the Worthington Cup; the Carling Cup; currently The Capital One Cup) Not that it matters to us.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Last time we featuring Clint (the scowl) Dempsey and put the Musings curse on him but we'll try again with Gylfi Sigurdsson.
 The boy's definitely got it, scoring, linking, supplying. He even scored against us as you will remember.
Burning Question(2) Where is he hiding it?

 Keep going down. It's slipped and I can't get it back up. Formatting or something. Mrs JimmyG2, my technical advisor, is not available as she's resting her brand new knee and is therefore not available for selection until after Xmas.

Here it is!