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.