The Blog that's not always wrong.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sherwood could get lucky.


 Mr. Scapegoat's waiting outside Mr. Levy.
It's Tim Sherwood Sir. 
Whatever.
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The JimmyG2 Column. 
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 Where to start? This is the kind of a mess, not totally unfamiliar to Spurs fans, that needs a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow rather than a dustpan and brush to clear up. Timothy Sherwood has been given the unenviable task of bailing out Dan Levy from his latest hasty misjudgment.

But this is a totally cynical appointment which serves only to buy him a little time. If Tim succeeds in whatever terms were agreed between them then Levy is a bold and wise Chairman. And if he doesn't then he can appoint a new and prestigious candidate who might have become available by the end of the season.

Win, win for Levy as it always seems to be. A shedload of total bollocks will be spoken in the aftermath as Tim keeps us more or less where we are now, slightly worse off than when AVB left. Silver linings are being desperately searched for already.

After all Tim is an insider and knows the club; he is  an experienced player at the top level; has a knowledge of the youngsters which has already seen Benteleb on the pitch; perhaps Fredericks will start against Stoke; more swash and buckle. Give the fans what they are alleged to want.

Meanwhile we will slip lower and lower down the league as the headless chicken approach fails to deliver against all but the most inept Premiership clubs. Slip too far and he will be sacked at the end of the season or even before. The AVB baby has been thrown out with the bathwater.

Do I want him to fail? Why would I? He has the privilege of being in charge of the team I have followed for over half a century.. But the signs are not good. Pinning your hopes on a revitalised Adebayor is a short cut to Nowheresville as W. Brom. showed.

Against W.Brom in the absence of Sandro and Paulinho ignoring a seasoned defensive midfielder like Capoue was suicidal. Playing Siggy on the wing and Chadli on the wrong wing was perverse. Leaving Lamela too long on the bench is self defeating.

Tim has to cram years of managerial experience into an extremely short time frame and while he learns from his mistakes the Premiership rolls relentlessly on. Mid-table beckons and it's not entirely his fault. Appointing him shows how little Levy knows about the supporters.

Promoted above his pay grade with an injury ravaged defence would be a test for a seasoned manager let alone a novice who has yet to complete his coaching badges. But he willingly put his head on the block and should not be surprised if the guillotine falls.

If I had any sorrow left over from the plight of THFC I would almost feel sorry for him. Almost. He is Levy's human shield and will take the fall for him when the time comes. He is keeping the seat warm for yet another continental name and faced with an impossible task.

 If only he wasn't so cocky and objectionable. Of course he may get lucky. Sandro, Kaboul and Vertonghen may ride over the hill with colours flying and bugles sounding. Soldado might find his scoring mojo; Adebayor might find a rich vein of form; Lamela may fulfil his potential and price tag.

A stream of youngsters could be fed into the system; the football might come together in a more expansive but controlled way. But it's a big ask and in many ways an unfair one. If Sherwood asked for the job then Levy should have politely shown him the door with consoling words.

Glen Hoddle would have been a willing stop gap and might not only have had more chance of success but could have stood the inevitable fall with less dire consequences to his already shaky managerial reputation. Tim may never recover.

 Spurs  will, eventually as the wheel of fortune slowly turns. But it may suit Levy to have a willing and temporary scapegoat who can rise and fall without trace, a Trivial Pursuits footnote in the history of the once mighty Spurs. This could  end in tears for all concerned.

And that includes the fans who are mere observers with no say or influence. We are watching on with horror, hoping for the best, clinging on to our love of Tottenham as time and time again ridiculous decisions at boardroom level are made and managers ignore the blindingly obvious.

We will be back to mid-table once again for this and probably next season as we lose our best players again and desperately try to stabilise and re-build. The best we can hope for is some good football and for some of our young talent to make it into the squad.

These are the only positives I can see from this cynical and desperate appointment. Come on Tim, surprise us all. I'm not holding my breath.

Happy New Year everyone after all, as the man said, it's not a matter of life and death.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
A moment of calm as we pause for thought before plunging back into the stormy Premiership waters.
A practical, down to earth man with the vision of a football philosopher.


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Lamela in the spotlight again.

Keep rolling them dice Danny boy.
Our number is bound to come up sooner or later.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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 Christmas Evening 2013.
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A Lamela Christmas  ... A Fairy Tale In Argentina and North London.
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Rather fairy tales and Christmas carols than the nightmare of just lately. Searching for positives through a Christmas mist of disillusionment has been difficult.
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It started with Liverpool, accelerated through the Andre dismissal (or was it his decision to go),was compounded by the Ham Cup fiasco and culminated in the longer term appointment of Tim Sherwood.
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It is still slow motion at our pub. Dodging Christmas jibes from condescending Arsenal elves and coming to terms with a season that promises .... what.
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Lovely evening at our pub Christmas eve, the flicker of light that was Southampton away and then the old bloke on the sled flies in and all is forgotten. Subsumed in an avalanche of food, wine and sheer goodwill.
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As well it helped to know our pub pin up boy was relaxing like us with family. No fancy night club exploits. The Lamela clan, in as far as our best sources suggest , a lively North London Greek restaurant.

Settling in quite nicely.
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Not At A Kent Pub.
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Our mob are on the way back. A rousing victory at the Lane tomorrow might complete the recovery. Probably too soon. We are still coming to terms with Andre going and in the words of a long suffering Blackburn fan who know Tim Sherwood well...
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 " A complete tosser."
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Hope not but it's a worry when you are still completing your Coaches badges.
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Look all is far from lost and in the immortal words of Sir Clement Freud ... a long time Spurs man ...
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"If you resolve to give up smoking,drinking,and loving Spurs,you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer."

Cheers ... hope springs eternal or is it to dare is to do ... happy Christmas ... Greg Meyer.       coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Cheer up it's Xmas. Things can only get better ( or worse, obviously).
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Monday, 23 December 2013

Back to the Future with Tim.

Two steps back, three steps forward at Southampton.
Progress in a Retro kind of way.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Gung Ho, Gung Ho,
As up the league we go.
Andres out; it's Sherwood's shout
Gung Ho, Gung Ho.

As the early doubters of aeroplanes said, 'It can't possibly fly'. But it did and landed too with its landing gear more or less intact. It shouldn't have: 442 away from home; Adebayor restored to the starting team; all creative guns firing, Bentaleb debuting ahead of Capoue and Holtby. What's going on?

Tim has to impress Levy and curry some favour with the fans and muy pronto or he'll be out by New Year's Day. So this was the Anything but the AVB Show. Quick build up; Lamela, Eriksen and Soldado starting together for the first time, no established defensive mid.

If he were dead AVB would be turning in his grave. But we got away with it thanks to another MOM performance by Adebayor and the fact that Southampton, a team on the slide, were not that good. However if we win on Boxing Day I and many others could get to quite like the man. The past is history. Fact.

Sherwood is not a well loved man at Spurs, dark mutterings of behind the scenes muggings on ABV and quite public demolition of Hoddle's efforts, as well as not being one of our favourite performers make a high wall of resistance to him ever becoming full time manager.

But it might suit Levy's plans for him to have enough success to leave him in place until the end of the season when more suitable long term candidates will become available. All this speculation after one game but Tim's porthole of opportunity is a very small one.

If he can transform himself from one of the Three Ugly Sisters into Cinderella by the turn of the year then the Tottenham Pantomime will be a Box Office success. Oh yes it will. But look out Tim, Levy's behind you and a couple of losses and the Final Curtain will come down in the middle of Act 1.

So yet another away win; three Premiership goals for the first time this season; another promising Academy graduate bloodied in some style; Mr. Sherwood you are spoiling us. He has two winnable games to come before the going gets really tough so he's going for it.

It's all a bit Redknapp-lite  and has a comforting retro feeling about it and although the approach might appeal in theory to most Spurs fans it is a little lacking in sophistication and very high risk. A bit like Tim himself with his unshaven look and chopped off sentences and thoughts.

But fans, like Levy himself, are mainly interested in results at the moment and if they can be achieved in a more swash-buckling style then he will please all parties. Suddenly 442 is the new 433. Soldado certainly benefited although he didn't take any of the chances presented. But he did get chances.

He and Ade belied their years and galloped like yearlings turned out in new green pastures. If Sherwood can retain the commitment of Adebayor and the confidence of the wider squad he has more than a fighting chance of getting the job. 

I don't think Sherwood will improve on what AVB might have and already had achieved  and his sacking was an act of bad faith. But if Tim becomes our new manager I will support the him through the team. So far what's not to like?

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Roberto Soldado. Lest we forget. Where did Ade learn those dramatic volleys? From watching old Soldado videos obviously. If he doesn't score 20+ goals this season I'll eat this blog! The dynamic duo might just be very good for each other and Spurs.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Spurs Options Shrinking by the Day.


Been there, done that 
and now that nice Mr. Levy has bought us the t shirt.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it got worse. A second loss to relegation aspirants W.Ham at home within a month. If Sherwood is the answer it's a damn funny question. Though to write him off after one game would be unfair. But life is just that at the moment.

Levy will give him just enough rope to do that for himself. Lose to Southampton on Sunday and it's the velvet drapes pretty soon after if we can get anyone decent at this time of the season. Or anyone half decent for that matter.

I assume that emissaries are bush beating the undergrowth as we speak. Some who haven't even been invited have already made their apologies. They have other places to go or more important people to see. If it wasn't all so grimly familiar it might even be amusing.

Brendan Rogers says today that he turned us down because of Levy and our record of turning over managers. He might have a point and it might apply to others this time round. People like Martinez and Rogers that we turned their noses up last time round are not available now.

We actually improved on last time out against W.Ham only losing 2-1. One up with ten minutes to go and losing has a familiar ring to it. At least AVB seemed to have put a stop to that kind of carry on. Andres has left the building Jimmy; let it go.

The retro 1990's feel to the side, 442, wide wingers worked for a time but we slowly ran out of pace and ideas. Then, having learned nothing over 18 months, Sherwood inverted the wingers and substituted Adebayor our best player and the rest is whatsit.

His options were limited due to injuries and another game on Sunday but we got the dead cat rather than the proverbial new Manager bounce. Playing Siggy and Dembele as a midfield two without a defensive protector was hopeful to say the least. Neither played well.

Rose made a welcome return. Capoue is not central defender, and Lloris is understandably losing his authority behind a constantly changing and inexperienced central defence. The much maligned Michael Dawson might even have been effective against Carlton Cole if he had been available.

Playing and persisting with offside specialist Defoe was like writing his own P45. Let's just hope that the Canadians were out shooting elk or ducks in a barrel and didn't notice. Townsend is out for a month or so with hamstrings which at the moment is probably a lucky break for all concerned.

We couldn't score in the crowded bus park in a hectic opening 20 minutes despite having at least three good opportunities. And we couldn't defend when the Fat Controller gave the green light at the end. I don't suppose AVB is laughing somewhere but a grim smile might be in order. Move on Jim.

New Manager.

Frank de Boer heads the new manager sweepstake at 2/1. Leaving Ajax at this stage seems unlikely and getting through unscathed to the end of the season would seem to be a priority. Sherwood is around 4/1 ahead of Hoddle (6/1) and Laudrop  (8/1). Both de Boer and Laudrop have already ruled themselves out but let's not spoil the fun.

 We surely have too many points in the bank to encounter serious embarrassment. Too good to go down. But they said that about the Titanic. I'm off to have a crafty couple of bob on Capello at around 10/1. He has the experience and authority to impose himself on our demoralised squad.

He's also a mate of Baldini who seems to have escaped any consequences of the meltdown. Most importantly he's available at short notice as he hasn't signed his new Russian contract and might sign a short contract, say 18 months to bridge the consolidation period we are inevitably entering.

Perhaps Levy can pull a lively rabbit out of the hat. Trouble is he tends to shoot them before they reach puberty. The football might be more AVB than we would like but Levy won't want to burn his fingers again and Capello would be a safe pair of hands, bit like Brad.

He was at the game on Wednesday, purely by chance apparently, so he knows what he is taking on. Having managed  England he is used to nursing sick animals and lame ducks. Having been sacked at Real Madrid after winning the league he is psychologically equipped to handle the likes of Levy. 

You read it here first. At least the fans showed up against W. Ham. And not many tears were shed for you know who. I doubt whether we have finished shooting ourselves in the foot just yet.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The whole sorry story. So good they showed it twice. Master tactician Sam Allardyce at work. Defoe looks up and crosses perfectly for Adebayor to volley home.

 What a strange sentence that is on re-reading. But we were beaten by two high balls into the box. The final blow delivered by a striker who hasn't scored for a year. You just know exactly what's going to happen when you hear those words.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Is Levy the real culprit at Spurs.

Merry Xmas AVB
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Looking for warmth and affection? Mince pies, comfort and joy on this miserable day. Try the Salvation Army there's nothing for you at the Musings. I do not believe that AVB should have been sacked and if we finish higher than we are now I will donate substantial monies to Charity.

Best points per game record than any other manager since the century before last; qualified for next stage of the Europa unbeaten; in the quarter finals of the league cup; trying to make sense of an unbalanced scattergun influx courtesy of the Bale inheritance and Baldini.

Three poor performances and some dreary football agreed but still only five points off Champions' League places. More disruption; more turmoil; another period of instability. Once again Spurs head off into the unknown without a compass, a map or a sextant.

This is knee jerk of the highest order by the King of Knee Jerk Mr. Daniel Levy who appointed Andres Villas Boas in the first place. Sherwood will fill in until a permanent candidate is selected unless he does well, which I hope he does.

Many hats will be in the ring including that of Glen Hoddle who has stepped up and offered to help us out. Thanks Glen I can't see that one flying. Baldini's chum Capello is available. Thanks but no thanks. Basel manager Murat Yakin has apparently been contacted and so it goes on.

We will see. Most of the desirable candidates like Laudrop will be difficult to prise away from their current employers so it may be after Xmas before things take shape.

It was ironic that it was Liverpool who executed the coup de grace when Spurs fans have spent so much energy lately ridiculing the club and in particular their manager Brendan Rogers. Perhaps a little humility is in order.

Next up W.Ham in the League Cup and Dnipra in the Europ under the guidance of another victim of Levy's short attention span, Juande Ramos. Revenge time Juande, revenge time. I have no great hopes for the immediate future: it might be different  but it's not likely to be any better.

Changing managers is statistically not a proven method of improving results. Research shows that over the medium term it makes no significant difference after the first few games. But never let facts get in the way of a good sacking.

A juicy piece of red meat thrown to the fans who like guard dogs distracted by the bait focus their attention on a new manager and take their eyes of the main culprit, a Mr D. Levy. A serial offender still at large.If you have to sack them every 18 months perhaps you shouldn't have appointed them in the first place.

Nine managers in the 15 years that Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal. Around 18 months each. On what basis are they appointed? Who does the due diligence or is it all seat of the pants stuff? I liked AVB in all his geekiness and thought it would come right.

A thoughtful, passionate, intense, serious football man who had done and was doing pretty well. We'll never know now. The football would have improved as the squad gelled but Levy once again has pulled the plug before the project had time to get off the ground.

AVB is not blameless of course. A high line with Michael Dawson in it is a disaster waiting to happen. Falling out with key players in positions where we have little or no cover is not advisable. The football has been turgid on the whole and he has been slow to adapt.

However landing a manager with seven newcomers from several different leagues, with varying competence in English and no Premiership experience and then complaining that he hasn't managed to integrate them all into the squad playing sparkling football is adding insult to injury.

So good luck Andres. We took a chance when you were cast out by Chelsea but didn't have the nerve to stay the course. Time and Dan Levy wait for no man. The common factor in all our recent disasters is not the managers but the Chairman who obviously fancies himself as a chip of the old Abramovich block.

 So here we go again. A sad week for Spurs and its reputation and another hefty compensation pay out dribbled into the sand.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Let's remember happier times. If you keep selling your best players and sacking your managers progress is going to be a little uncertain. to say the least.

Friday, 13 December 2013

AVB Tearing the wings off butterflies.

Step away Andre. That's how it's meant to fly.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Better. Much better. Much better than better in fact. Have we turned the corner? Or is this just another twist in the maze? Liverpool will tell us much more of course than a dead rubber in the Europa but there seems to be more than just the Three Steps to Heaven for Spurs on Thursday.

Step one: we attacked Anji with more pace, determination and flair.
Step two: Soldado's hat trick was excellent news, not only for us. Class will out.
Step three: Danny Rose and Eriksen returned without too much apparent stress.
Step Four: Even with a makeshift defence we coped pretty well.
Step five: Youngsters started and came on and did OK. In Ryan Frederick's case more than OK.

Was Friedel was at fault for the first goal? Hugo has spoilt us and might have cut it out. Naughton was wrestling with his man and not concentrating on the ball. But this overall performance was better than medicine for me. Keep taking the tablets.

The jury is still out on Erik Lamela who shows talent in patches but has yet to put in a complete performance. Perhaps that's the nature of the beast. He was unlucky not to score with a header and had a shot well saved. He found Soldado for the second with an incisive pass.

The Jury however has returned and its verdict on Soldado is, as we said from the start, this man is quality. As soon as we got the ball quickly into the box he was alert and alive. With Townsend on the left and Lamela or Lennon on the right he will thrive.

Townsend and Rose combined well in the first half and why Townsend and Lamela were swapped is a mystery. If it ain't broke Andre, if it ain't broke. I bet AVB used to tear the wings off butterflies as a kid to see if it made them fly better.

Holtby's goal was a thing of beauty, clever and brave. He almost stole the show but Bobby's hat-trick takes the honours. Dembele was strong again and it was a pity he couldn't have been rested for Sunday.

Capoue is clearly destined for stardom and even out of position at centre back alongside Fryers looked composed and moves the ball quickly out of defence. Once or twice he forgot that it was Brad in goal and forced him out of his comfort zone.

The arrival of Fredericks was a real tonic. I do like to see a youngun on and a good youngun is a bonus. By Walker's Delight out of Townsend's Folly this boy has pace and spirit. Where do we find them? Coulthirst needed longer to make his mark but I liked the look of him.

Will Bobby Soldier start on Sunday? I think he should but I am not convinced that AVB will see it that way. There's no logic in dropping him for Defoe who might be better used against W. Ham in midweek. What are hat-tricks for after all if not to secure a starting place.

Liverpool are struggling with the loss of key players especially Gerrard and we have enough quality to see them off at home. The turnaround since City will be complete and normal service restored. Crisis ? What crisis?

Beating Liverpool would be the easy way to demonstrate our credentials. Easy way. Spurs. Not three words that go easily into a sentence. Come on Tottenham help me through the run-up to Xmas with a bit of seasonal footballing therapy cheer. You can only stand so much shopping.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
All the goals against Anzhi. Two quality assists from Lamela and Townsend. A cheeky Klinsmann dive from his half compatriot Holtby. A penalty that never was though I'm not sure it was a dive by young Ryan. Soldado arm wrestles his way for the headed opener. The second is what we pay him for: one touch and bingo.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

You really don't want to know.


Me and Spurs are definitely on the right road.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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So anyway there I was half way through my forensic analysis of the Fulham game when there were ambulances, flashing lights and emergency admissions. You don't want to know, trust me.

It was the usual Musings meanderings: Hugo top of AVB's Christmas Card list following his stand-out performance against Fulham; fully recovered after his bang on the head against Everton and so on. Good job I didn't have time to post that one after his efforts against Sunderland.

So anyway there I am I'm in A&E, (or had I been shifted upstairs by then?) I forget. No not that far Upstairs, not the Great Grandstand in the sky, just up to the first floor: Admissions. Anyway by 9 o/c on the Saturday Mrs JimmyG2 had phoned through the Spurs result, to assist my recovery.

So I knew the result but nothing about the game. It felt a bit like that episode of the Likely Lads. Actually that's rubbish because they didn't want to know the result. Anyway I'm in a four berth ward in the bed next to a lifelong Tottenham fan of similar vintage to my own, discussing the 60's and whether we'll ever see their like again, as you do.

He'd got one of them fancy phones with App thingies so he filled in in the details of the result against Sunderland. Since then I've watched a recording of MOTD and a download or an upload, whatever, of the complete game, courtesy of her indoors who knows about these things.

We always make a lot about the performance on Musings but it was mightily reassuring to know that the three points were safe and the Manager too for another week. In fact my fellow Spurs fans are beginning to come on board with us on that one.

 The main complaint at the moment is not the results but that the football has been dire. But we're off the sliproad and setting off on the High Road to Footballing Recovery. Things are looking up injuries excepted.

In that department it's constant good news/bad news. The bad news is that Vertonghen's out but the good news is that Rose is back for the weekend. Maybe. The bad news is that Chiriches is out but the Good news is that Capoue's back. And so it goes on.

But the Very Good News is that we've got 7/9 points since the Man.City fiasco and we lie in 6th, two points off the CL places. More importantly I think I detect signs of improvement in the actual football. Even Defoe played better, passing, running the left channel and hitting the post twice.

Defoe and Holtby closed down from the front with creditable spirit and energy. At one point Defoe turned in exasperation when he discovered that his team-mates had gone into conservation mode but had neglected to let him know. But at least the spirit is there.

But most importantly we made chances and for twenty minutes after we went ahead, courtesy of O'Shea, always liked him, we pressed and dominated and Sunderland could barely get out. On another day Sunderland might have scored 2 or 3. But on another day we might have scored 5 or 6.

Lloris gifted Johnson his first goal of the season with a pathetic punch to a cross he had ample time to catch. Fully recovered Mr Lloris? I think not. He was later grateful to Dawson for a timely clearance after another fumble. He did make one graceful catch later on.

 Naughton had his best performance at left back in place of the injured Vertonghen who may be out until the New Year; Capoue slotted in pretty well for the injured Chiriches in the back four alongside Dawson; AVB juggled his resources effectively.

Holtby started and seems to have got the nod over Siggy. Likewise Defoe over Soldado which defies logic but on the performance made sense. Walker was pretty good once again and seems to have got over his blip of last season.

Dembele was probably the pick with another forceful show. Paulinho got forward well and scored the equaliser with a sharp close in finish. Nobody played badly. Shadli got nearly a full game, he didn't do a great deal but looks comfortable and supplied a headed assist.

Sandro clearly handled but got away with it and you almost feel sorry for Sunderland. Almost. Townsend took the pressure off effectively when he came on down the left. Lennon is playing well so Lamela may have to wait though he Soldado, Siggy and anyone not required first up for the Liverpool game may get starting roles against Anji on Thursday.

AVB is difficult to second guess  but needs to go on ploughing his own furrow as spirits and performance are looking up and results too. Two wins in a week both after going 1-0 down. What's not to like? 

And no you really don't want to know. But like Spurs I'm definitely on the mend.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
This is AVB in 'happy' mode. Doesn't get carried away does he? But he must be quietly pleased with this week's performances and results.
 

Monday, 2 December 2013

AVB and Spurs take offence

Until Wednesday anyway.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 So not only Spurs but AVB came out fighting on Sunday. And not before time you might think. We've been stuck in the trenches for long enough. Being nice to the press doesn't actually work either. Just ask Harry. It didn't secure the England job for him or stop him going down with QPR. It's the football stupid.

AVB for whom English is a second or third language had to point out to a couple of daily hacks ( I nearly typed 'hackers' there) that when he says 'we' he includes himself and is not referring solely to the players. If he had been he would have said 'they'.

So journalists put back in their boxes, for now, and Man.Utd all but put back in theirs. Except for a couple of soft gifts we would have beaten a fairly ordinary opposition. This was more like it. A livelier, quicker more determined performance all round.

Walker showed both sides of his abilities by scoring the opener with a free kick which went under the wall, crossing with almost Beckamesque quality, delivering pretty decent dead ball kicks throughout the game and then failing to clear a cross and setting up Rooney by mistake.

Sandro added to a fine performance with a stunning 25 yarder after thoroughly bamboozling Cleverly. Then Lloris brought down Welbeck To give Rooney a chance to equalise from the penalty spot. A much better all round effort and no signs that AVB had lost the dressing room as has been widely alleged.

Lennon fizzed for an hour and was substituted for Townsend which was greeted with boos by the footballing illiterati at the Lane. Andros quickly demonstrated that he is a deserved understudy to Aaron with a completely ineffective performance.

Defoe did the same for Soldado who looked much more lively and combined well with Paulinho on a couple of occasions. He certainly missed a decent opportunity but Defoe did nothing in his twenty minutes to suggest that he should rate above him.

Walker and Sandro stole the honours but nobody played badly during Operation Fightback. Not even Daws who got skinned by Welbeck a couple of times but who always brings his unique enthusiasm, as does Walker. The sort of invaluable spirit which we need to show more of.

Not that we have any choice: Kaboul is not currently available and Verts is needed at left back until Rose returns. So the heat is off until at least Wednesday night when we face Fulham at The Cottage who have a Jol shaped hole where their manager used to be.

The starting eleven should be very similar and three points would not just lower the temperature but might even turn the gas off completely. But beware wounded journalists licking their wounds and sucking their pencils in the undergrowth.. Stick it to them again Andre.

Most fans agreed that the spirit shown on Sunday has given Andre a breathing space in their eyes whose main complaint was the style of football being played. But in truth the pressure was largely an artificial confection, the result in Andres eyes of a vendetta by the Press.

After all the season is barely a  third completed; we qualified for the next stage of the Europa at the head of our group without conceding a goal. We have progressed in all competitions and despite being down in ninth place we are only one win away from a CL place.

Balewatch:
Making hay while Ronaldo is injured. A perfect hat-trick at the weekend which seems to have won over not only the fans but the partisan Spanish press. It has taken Bale only 13 games to score his first perfect hat-trick one, a feat that took Ronaldo 62 games to achieve and which Messi never has.

The only other British player to do the treble was our very own Garry Lineker for Barcelona against Real 25 yrs ago.  Bale in Spanish can mean 'worth or 'value' and it seems as if the Real fans have had to agree that he is.

 I wish him a long and successful career in Madrid partly from pride in the boys progress which I hope you all share and because we don't want him back in the Premiership any time soon.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
'Made in Tottenham' you might say. In the last six games Bale has scored 8 and provided six assists. This one was not a thing of great beauty but certainly confident and effective.


Friday, 29 November 2013

Never say Never. say Spurs

For AVB the pundits predict it's up or out.
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The Greg Meyer Column.
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 November 29 2013 .. Three Older Great Birthdays .. One Plays Sunday



May You Never.
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" May you never hold your head down without a hand to hold,


May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight.


May you never lose your Tottenham.

May you never leave your team out in the cold ...."     with help from and apologies to John Martyn  ... "May You Never." The lyrics are very apt regards Andre at the mo.
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 Philosophically speaking its been a little rough lately down our Kent Lane. Nothing to do with the goings on at a certain White Hart Lane. Actually its all to do with those football goings on.


Talk of Andre VB out. Bollocks.
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 A thousand and one conspiracy theories emanating from all sources inside and out the Tottenham Hotspur FC Board. Bollocks.


Dressing room mutiny. Bollocks. So what is the problem? Various theories were floated this week ...
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 At A Kent Pub.
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Inverted wingers. Sounds like a new political catch phrase. At least we have done away with the term"project". Yes the squatting went some time ago. Mind Martin Samuel of the Mail seems somewhat inverted in his call for a return of the said squatting. Yes to less inversion of the wingers and more to the old fashioned reach the byline approach.
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 Sad but true. Michael "always smiling, always trying"  Dawson was to put it nicely, embarrassed by the likes of Auguerro and Co. To put it bluntly the boyo is out of his depth completely. Yes Kaboul was rusty but not the badger in the headlights that was our loyal captain.
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 So Kaboul or Vlad , alongside Verts. Fryers or even Holtby at left back until the Rose return.


So that's the back and front. The middle. Sandro stays, Dembele does seem to be finally running into form, faith in Paulinho, and yes Lamela for his creativity.
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Just before the naysayers arrive, Lamela seemed better against Citeh. Not knocked off the ball, showed good pace, keen and confidence is building.
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Tromso ... always makes us think of a Monty Python sketch ... went to plan. No catastrophic injuries. Moussa looking more forward than usual. Brad kept a clean sheet.
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 Okay back to some more fine English ale. After all it is Man U.on Sunday. Van Persie, Rooney, etc. A big ask. Will they lift? Starting to get rather pivotal for Spurs and a certain managerial tenancy.
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Sitting round our birthday table today some real legends. John Myall turns 80, Brad Friedel's brother Kasey Keller is 44 and yes the Welsh wonder Ryan Giggs turns 40 today.
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We cannot go any worse on Sunday can we. Surely not.
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Cheers and commiserations ... in the immortal words of John Martyn ... "May we never lose our faith in Tottenham..."      Greg Meyer.         coys.
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 Greg's Video Spot :
By special request from Greg, John Martyn's 'May you Never' Live at the BBC from 1973.
We won the league cup that year and somewhere around then we beat Manchester United 4-1.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

AVB to stay

 There that should fix it. Oops!
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Well I've given it the full 24hrs as per Musings rules about blogging too soon after a defeat. In fact before this hits the streets it will be 48 hrs or more. You know, just to give it a bit of perspective, to allow the blood to cool; and the hackles to settle.

So far it hasn't helped. This was more than a pasting; if we were wallpaper we would have slid right off the wall. It was more than a beating; omelets have contained eggs less shaken up. We were humiliatingly pulverized. Perspective and time is not making it easier to take. Once again we had more possession but did nothing with it. City plundered goals at will.

Four consecutive games without a Premiership goal and now we can't even boast about our defensive record. We were more than just casual, we were slack and showed too little concern for the result and our reputation. Vertonghen's inept and half hearted attempt to clear for their sixth sums it up.

Digging deep for the positives: Lennon had a bright half hour; Sandro never gave up; Dembele was reassuringly strong and composed; Walker was positive and kept his head up; Lloris didn't go completely to pieces, and that's about it. If your desperate for a little brightness you could say that we were reasonably competitive for the half hour after we conceded but that is to ignore the other five goals.

Analysis by the pundits shows that we were totally unprepared mentally at kick off and within ten seconds the ball was back with Hugo for the fatal kick. From our own kick off, I ask you. And Hugo has form on poor distribution.

People have been crying out for Lamela to start. He did and though clearly a talent and not given to hiding he produced very little. Adebayor is not the answer to whatever the question might be. Kaboul is just not ready; Dawson was cruelly exposed; Holtby buzzed but didn't sting.

A depressing end to our fine statistical start especially after W.Ham and Newcastle. Four consecutive Premiership games without a goal and little sign of the expected gelling yet to appear. We are playing like a team overburdened with tactical analysis, playing without joy.

There must be a happy medium between the alleged Redknapp 'Just go on and fuckin run about a bit' and the 70 page manual stuff ascribed to AVB. Something that would release the multiple talents of this squad and still preserve some of the new-found defensive competence.

Rumours of dressing room conflict and the usual tabloid nonsense about losing the dressing room are rife. Vertonghen who has issues of his own about his role is the chief denier of such stories. He probably wouldn't have noticed anyway given his catatonic response to Walker's Halloween scare stunt. (See Video Spot)

So that all is not well at Tottenham cannot be denied but it is nowhere as bad as is painted nor as dire as the wrist slashing tendency amongst the Spurs faithless would have us believe. Sacking the Manager is simply throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

It raises more questions than it solves and pushes the whole  shooting match back another couple of years. Any new manager would have exactly the same problems to solve: Premiership inexperience, Soldado and our pattern of play, left back, Adebayor, lack of balance in the side. Add your own why don't you.

For me the greatest problem is the lack of invention and excitement in our of football and this may well be down to AVB. He needs to let their creative juices rip just a little. Lamela needs to play on the right or in the centre while Eriksen is injured and Townsend on the left. Dembele looks to have played himself back into form.

We signed too many new players in the Summer, 9 if you include Rose and Townsend, and they will all take some settling in. Even in the face of this we are not doing too badly, 2 points off Champions' League places and 3 points better off after 12 games than last season. It's  hardly a catastrophe.

Next weekend AVB has the opportunity to put things right against Man. Utd. On Thursday the Europa tie against Tromso should be the start of a change in fortunes. By next week the Man.City game won't be forgotten but could be put behind us.

Those calling for the sacking of AVB will look like the hysterics they surely are and the ship will have weathered the storm and be sailing in calmer waters. Keep the faith, keep your heads and trust that this choppy passage will have focused minds and attitudes at all levels in the club from Levy to the youngest fan.

Latest betting: Villas Boas 10/11 to be the next manager sacked. Save your money folks, it ain't gonna happen.Too expensive for Dan Levy to start with and lack of available and suitable replacements at this stage of the season. Give the man a break and the players too.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
In case you missed it: the Halloween stunt. Six minutes of fun from happier times just a month ago.The reactions of the players is spot on according to their characters as revealed on the pitch. See what I mean about Jan. What the hell is it with mobile phones?


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Can AVB stand the Pressure?


We can only live in hope.
But it will probably get worse before it gets better.
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 The JimmyG2 Column.
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Missed the game: family matters. Seen the highlights; read all the reports, the blogs, the fan sites; Krul blow; Krul result; Krul afternoon's work, November is the Krulest month, 'Don't be Krul' and so on and. I get the picture.

So the game is filed under the usual heading: Spurs half asleep; go behind; dominate the game; keeper plays a blinder; manager under fire; apocalypse looms. Label that:  'same old, same old' then. At least it sounds more exciting than of late.

Andros was even more head down and fire at will than usual. Will was apparently seated in row Z unfortunately. Sorry, old joke but appropriate in the circumstances. A frustrating indigestible lunchtime meal and a good game to miss by all accounts.

The reaction is quite alarming though. Not quite 'AVB out' but pretty damn near in some quarters. Not starting Lamela can be laid at his door; the persistence with inverted wingers which doesn't seem to be working and not firing the boys up for a home game again are all correctly placed in his in tray.

But the poor performance of Siggy, Townsend, Defoe, Dembele and the poor tackle by Paulinho which led to their goal cannot. That's the trouble with losing just before a break, it gives us all too much time to gnaw the meat off the bones of failure.

The Lloris incident has given the Press the opportunity to return to their attack on AVB. Like a cat with a mouse they wander off onto some other fall guy, Jol,or whoever and then at the slightest pretext return to a previous victim.

However we are still only 2 points off second and a win which we should have achieved on the run of play
would have taken us to 2 points off top. Knee jerking is by definition a tad premature. If we are mid-table at Easter then perhaps some grumbling might be understandable.

Speculation is even rife as to who might replace AVB if he were to be sacked. Laudrop is the most mentioned. But how long would you give him? Longer than Andres presumably. More disruption more changes more transition.

 Musings predicts that he won't be sacked in any event but the pressure may get worse before it gets better. Tinkering and fine tuning is required rather than a complete overhaul.

We have practically a new team to integrate under a newish manager feeling his way. To consider further disruption is madness. I have said all along that we might have to be content with 5th this season in the light of the considerable changes already made.

If we make top four we should be more than satisfied. Would I like to see us challenging for the top spot? Of course, I'm a Spurs fan, why wouldn't I? But in the meantime I would like to see a more energetic approach, more movement, more interplay, more imagination  and less turgidity.

There are signs of this in the recent work of Chiriches, Kaboul and Vertonghen bringing the ball out from the back as opposed to playing pass the parcel along the back four. The back door is more secure than in the past so we must use this security to launch more enterprising sorties more quickly.

I am sure that this is all part of AVB's long term game plan and it must be allowed to blossom. We should trust the creative talents and energy of Eriksen, Lamela, Holtby and Paulinho to speed things up.

We don't need two defensive midfielders especially at home and Dembele is too slow and unimaginative to fulfill this kind of brief. Soldado apparently played better against Newcastle but needs  an earlier ball and quicker build up  to play to his strengths.

Being where we are while AVB works out his best team is decent enough. I would be surprised if Lamela and Eriksen don't feature in our first choice squad and Townsend too once he gets his head up, they have the creativity we are lacking.

If AVB sticks to his guns he is stubborn and if he doesn't he is weak and flippy floppy. He can't win. So Andres batten down the hatches, cancel the papers, switch off Sky and do your own thing. Sit in a darkened room and put Frank Sinatra's 'My Way on continuous loop.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The tackle that never was from Paulinho. Have a word with your fellow countryman Mr. Beast. The sort of through ball by Goufran to Remy that Soldado can only dream of at the moment. Friedel demonstrated once again that he is no Lloris. The bombardment of  Krul's goal. A minute of action that encapsulates the whole game.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Dear Ade: Love Andre: PS. Erik.

  Lamela on the road to Nirvana
Looks and Smells Like Team Spirit.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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 Friday November 8 2013... Fans Favorite Birthday.
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A Letter To Adebayor From The Manager ....  Lamela Watch.

 When all else fails then a good manager rather than resorting to his sword puts pen to paper in an endeavor to prove the modern day quill is mightier than the last resort sacking option.
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  I mean even the legendary patience of Job ( manager of the Jacobites United mob) would be tested by the antics of the son of a well known elephant washer from downtown Toga.
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  So no surprise this turned up in the Spurs Lodge player box marked Mr. Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor to be completely accurate.
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The Managers Office                                                                                                                     Phone: 020 8365 5180.

Suite 13

Spurs Lodge .. Luxborough Lane

Chigwell  IG7 5AB.
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 Dear Emmanuel,
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                       as you are well aware my office door is always open although in your case it would appear frequent relocation to the four corners of the world would seem necessary to allow for at the very least rudimentary communications
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 A flying desk perhaps. South Africa, Togo and lots of points in between here and London spring to mind.
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                      I well remember how excited you were setting off for the African Cup but also assuring us you would be back as soon as possible. Yes of course we understood your difficulties in returning. Even I would have trouble with a flight schedule in Swahili.
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 Yes air travel can be confusing at times even when you have your own personal jet.Good pilots and staff are hard to find these days as you say. How many multilingual pilots are there. How many can read maps.
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                    Still you escaped from that five star hotel in Johannesburg only to get lost on the way to the airport. We here at Spurs Lodge understood that could happen to anyone. We were not worried in the least given your departing sentiments of a quick return to us.
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  Well yes international travel is fraught with difficulty of course. Mind you made it home eventually but then had some other issues. Still you did get to play again last season, I think.
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                   A new season dawned, a new resolve given your protestations of being top dog striker .Off we all went to Hong Kong. Not a roaring success I grant you . A break from London routine and an exciting season for most of us to look forward to.
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  Yes Manny I know Bobby joined us, yes Erik too, Paulinho and Christian, Etienne. Nacer ....quite a lot of competition indeed. Everyone was so excited, training together and then terrible misfortune struck.
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                  The very unfortunate death of your brother Peter was doubly tragic training wise. A meaningful pre season went out the window.I had no hesitation in endorsing the club's granting you extended compassionate leave ,nor the further extension and the one after that.
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                  Never mind a complete lack of pre-season. Never mind what seemed a previous attitudinal problem re-emerging. Arsenal, Man City anyone. Of course I thought having a run with the kids might be useful. Oops after that more injury problems.
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                 Where to go from here. I mean we tried travel brochures from Turkey and others in the summer. No Manny was determined to fight for his place. Such bad luck with aeroplanes, injuries and life in general. Seems all too much for you .
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                 Perhaps as they say in Portugal ...
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                             "A preuica e a mae detodos visios"  ... Laziness is the mother of all vices.


                             " Burros velhos etc ... You can lead an elephant to the well but... you know the rest.
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 But perhaps we should stay positive  ....


                            "Mas vale tardedo que munca" ... Better late than never.


Please come back to Spurs Lodge ... the old Emmanuel Adebayor.


         Sincerely yours


                                 Andre.
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Lamela Watch At A Kent Pub.
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 Our pub like nearly all of you have never lost hope that our Argentinian superstar will come good. Okay one swallow on a late European autumn night does not make it anywhere near the finished product.
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 However the you tube glide, the dribbling trickery, the close control in traffic and even a goal were all on display against FC Sheriff. Let's hope he has a big chunk of time (starting?) against Newcastle at the Lane Sunday.
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 More certain of a start is our birthday boy. Actually Vlad the Impaler was born on this day in 1431. Our man Vlad Chiriches is only 23 but like Lamela starting to settle and threaten.
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 Cheers .... That's Amore .. Thats Lamela ... Greg Meyer.    coys.
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 Jimmy's Video Spot.
Well it's either Erik's goal or Nirvana with Smells like Teen Spirit. Not much on offer for Lamela's goal yet so Nirvana it is. Has a certain relentless charm to it. Nirvana not Lamela. Captures the spirit of Spurs in the 90's. No perhaps not, we didn't get that down did we?
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 Anyway currrently my favourite Spurs player  and my favourite Nirvana track. Might even start on Sunday? Lamela not Nirvana.

                                    

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

It's All Coming Out at Tottenham.

 Three!

A penalty shoot out; a goalkeeper knock out; a defensive shut out and some performance stand-outs. Yet  in some quarters the jury is still out. The performances agreed are not as far out as we would like but the results are enough to make some rivals eat their hearts out.

Hugo Lloris:
What a knockout this boy is: literally on this occasion. Should have gone off without a doubt but proved conclusively that the modern Frenchman is no surrender monkey. Can I say 'monkey'  in this context? A glance at Kaboul will back this up if you need convincing.

Whether his staying on was right or wrong medically, and it was almost certainly wrong, Brad would never have got out to make that save late on. Speed of thought as well as movement.

Harry Kane.
Stole the show against Hull in the Cup: scored one which was disallowed for handball by Defoe who could only stand and admire. Scored another to take us into extra time. Smashed one against the bar and scored his penalty in style. And wasn't offside once. You get my drift?

What do we want? Harry for back up to Soldado. When do we want it? Now.

Soldado.
He's not getting the ball or the goals expected. Although the second results from the first.. Is it his fault or the team's? Chicken/egg: egg/ chicken. He received just the one pass in the box against Everton despite numerous runs and clear indications that he wanted the ball in the channel.

Nobody in the midfield was quick thinking enough to oblige. Eriksen and Siggy are the only ones with enough football brain to respond to him in time. Sandro and Dembele are poor at seeing a pass, Lennon and Townsend run infield too often and hold the ball for too long.

 Holtby and Paulinho are better but not good enough to supply the man in the manner to which he is accustomed. More one touch training urgently required.

Chiriches.
Right, I 've changed my mind. He's the goods. Still likely to give us the screaming ab-dabs occasionally but the upside is all positive.

Friedel.
Gone. Thanks for everything and goodbye. Need a new backup. Gomes should be given first option against Sheriff on Thursday.

Defoe.
Gone. Goodbye and thanks for everything but that was then. Harry Redknapp might like a Friends Re-united reunion after Xmas.

Vertonghen.
MOM on Sunday. Pity he doesn't like left back but he was back to his imperious best, apart from the daft tackle in the penalty box that went unpunished. I know Jan should have had one himself but you can only push your luck with refs so far. We've had our share for this year in any case.

AVB
Our most successful Manager in terms of points/games played seems to be getting a lot of stick lately. A more attractive playing style and goals will come as the team continues to gel. The first half against Everton was one of the best 45 minutes we have played this season.

Ten matches in and we are 4th averaging 2 points per game. Last year that average would have got us 3rd. We've kept 7 clean sheets in 10 league games for the first time in our history according to Official sources and 13 in 17 in all matches. Mr Villas Boas you are surely spoiling us.

 He must be doing more right than wrong at the moment. All the old pro's and pundits will tell you that a tight defence is the best foundation on which to build a winning team.

Siggy.
Did more in 15 minutes than Aaron did in 75. Forced an excellent save from Howard at least. And I am a big fan of Lennon's although his USP, speed, has been commandeered by Andros.

Sandro.
AVB is getting criticised by some for subbing The Beast for his understrapper the man previously known as the beast, Moussa Dembele. Madness when he was playing so well, stupid and unjustifiable decision. Except Sandro was taken off for an injury not just for whimsical serendipity by AVB.

Seems people are just looking for reasons to have a go at Andres. God knows why at this stage of the season. Spurs fans have had it too good lately. It's not exciting but it is effective and I anticipate better things to come.

At Spurs conceding goals is going out of fashion. But the next item on the agenda is that we have had the most shots (133) but the worst conversion rate. I blame Townsend with an assist from Paulinho.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
We might as well make this a Hugo Hug-in. Devotion above and beyond. But when you don't trust your back up keeper that's what happens.


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Problems for Spurs: On and Off the Pitch.


 At some grounds the crowd makes its own entertainment.
At White Hart Lane we just doze off.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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Who's complaining? Back up to fourth; another clean sheet; yet another penalty coolly dispatched, our third in nine games; what's not to like? Well there's the quality of the football for a start and, according to AVB, the home supporters.

AVB seems to have picked a fight with the fans he can't win contrary to the advice of all known military strategists. Not all fans will disagree with him though. But the culprits if culprits there be will reply that we will cheer up when you give us a bit more to cheer about. Apart from the results of course.

Reminds me of the psychiatric patient who responded 'It's about sexual intercourse' when presented with drawings of a square, a circle and a triangle by his doctor. 'You are sexually obsessed' his therapist pronounced. 'Me?' replied the patient. 'It's you that's drawing the dirty pictures'.

Face up to it Andres if the result was all that mattered then the fans could stay at home or if things get really desperate go shopping with the wife and kids and check the result when they get home. The point of sport is pleasure and inspiration.

Cups, league positions, points, prizes are all incidental add-ons though they seem to have become its sole purpose. They are a distraction. The game itself and the way it is played is the point. Good football and success are not alternatives.

 The old, 'Which would you rather do: win playing badly or lose playing well' is a false theoretical dilemma. It's a mind game We should aim to win playing well and if we fail pleasure and inspiration  will have been shared by players and fans alike.

We are playing too methodically, too ponderously, too cautiously and it's not good to watch which defeats the point of the whole enterprise in the first place. Another game with over 60% possession but very few chances created.

 I thought the build up was quicker mainly due to Chiriches bringing the ball out rather than playing the ball sideways, very slowly. Very very slowly. Kaboul and Vertonghen used to do that but it seems to have been ruled out of late.

So another great result at the end of a so-so performance. Yes they parked the bus, but with the talent available we aught to be able to hot wire the offending vehicle and drive it off the park. Well they're not going to give us the keys voluntarily are they.

Hud had his chance for glory in the closing minutes to complete the script we had all written but he blazed the ball wide. Once a Tottenham man always a Tottenham man. He looked good but in a very ordinary side intent on defending which is not his strong suit.

Townsend did a dramatic disappearing trick at the end to crown a busy but largely ineffectual afternoon. His spirit in insisting that he return to the pitch despite having been knocked unconscious would put some prima donnas we could name to shame. He managed to take out a cameraman as he went over the hoarding.

Anyway the ref, God bless him, was a homer and Soldado was coolness personified as he scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot for the third time in 9 games this season. Extraordinary when you consider that we didn't get a single penalty last season.

Welcome to the World of Top Team Perks. Some believe that it doesn't even itself up over time. This is one in the eye for them. Of course it does, it just depends on your time frame. Thank you Gods for waiting until Soldado signed before you gave the scales a nudge.

Nobody was outstanding except for Sandro who was outstandingly bad. All of his worst features were on prominent display and Dembele was a reassuring substitution after half time. Chiriches who is a breath of fresh air with a faint whiff of imminent disaster was one of the more enterprising performers.

 Anyway it's the same again on Wednesday in the Capital 1 Cup. Did Hull bother to go home I wonder. Lamela, Erikson, Siggy, Chadli and Defoe might start and the rumour is that Adebayor might make an appearance. Not sure how AVB will fit them all in but go out and enjoy yourselves anyway lads.

AVB will have one eye on the Cup, one eye on Sunday when we travel to Everton and another eye on the crowd. Give us a wave Andres and some entertainment. It's not just about winning as the man once said.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The crowd certainly woke up at this point. The Ice Man Cometh and Scoreth. I wouldn't have given it but I saw this one given. It did prevent the cross and its hard to sympathise with Hull. If you play most of the game in your own penalty area nasty things can happen.
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