The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lamela to start.

 Are you taking all the free kicks Lamps?
12.45 I think.
The Greg Meyer Column. 

 September 27 .. Erik Lamela's Hero Birthday.
Lamela To Start  ... Spurs Are Coming ... Age Just A State Of Mind.
Questions galore surround the London derby at the Lane on Saturday. Will our record signing start? Why are Chelsea worried? The answer to that and lots more a little later.
 Really the big picture is more about the arrival of a young Portuguese and the presence of a rather much older Portuguese.
 The Special Young One versus The Special Old One ... Spurs versus Chelsea.

Spurs are coming given the calculated and imaginative spending of the Bale money. Some with a heavy Arsenal bent might say they've been threatening to come for a long time. 
A second eleven in the league Cup saw Villa off with consummate ease. Mind that second eleven did include our man Lamela. Played a very good first half, saw little ball in the second. Enough to start?  More later.

 Back to the youngster and the has been. Only joking surely. Jose has hit the magical 50 while Andre has made it to 35 years young. Our pub think the age factor should not be discounted.

 The age factor appears when you consider respective squads. The average Spurs age is 25 years whereas Chelsea weigh in at 28 years. Old duffers like John Terry(32), Frank Lampard(35), Ashley Cole(32),and the new boy SamuelEto'o (32) certainly qualify as Chelsea Pensioners.
  Michael Dawson at 29 is a Spurs old boy. Erik Lamela is the team baby at 21 years old.
 So does this age thing really mean anything. Our pub philosopher went looking and came up with the following ...
 "Age is an issue of mind over matter(Mata).If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."   Mark Twain.
 "Age considers;youth ventures."  Raindranath Tagore and THFC ... To Dare is To Do.
"Old men.They don't grow wise. They grow careful."  Ernest Hemingway and possibly Jose Mourinho.
 " Just remember when you are over the hill then you begin to pick up speed." Charles Shulz and Jose Mourinho  ... here's hoping.
 and probably our pub favourite ...
 " Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.'  Spurs season ticket holder Oscar Wilde. Perhaps the wisdom of Wilde regards the moderation of Jose and the youthful impetuosity of Andre.
 So Do Chelsea Fear Spurs.

 The signing of Willian gives us a clue. Nearly put pen to paper for Spurs when a phone call between Russian oligarchs who happen to own football clubs put an end to that. Our pub reckon it was a bullet dodged. 
All that happened was we definitely signed Erik Lamela ( our man again) and with a no 10 still needed , along came another 21 year old. Christian Eriksen. Given his performance or lack of so far by Willian seems a reasonable conspiracy theory that the sole aim was to frustrate Spurs.
 The non signing of Juan Mata. Spurs tried but Jose said no. Why? Certainly not his no1, no 10. Don't blame him for not letting him go to a rival. Worried about Spurs . Of course.
 So are Chelsea a team of ageing superstars studded with some fabulous talent. It has been a hot topic this week ...
 At A Kent Pub ... Our Concerns.

 Our first concern. The referee is Mike Dean. Say no more.
 Set pieces and corners. Maybe we have discarded zonal marking and at least can spare one for the post. Hugo Lloris needs aerial strength. He has it.
 Jose Mourinho successfully closing the game down as he did against Manchester United. Surely with options like Chadli, Townsend and our man Erik Lamela we can provide space for Eriksen, Soldado and others including our goal scoring Brazilian.
 We are excited and optimistic. The only thing retro about Spurs is the new shirt collar. Probably the most exciting time to be following Spurs since 1961.
 The Argentinian link should continue. Class and Erik Lamela to start. His hero Francesco Totti of Roma is 37 today.
 Cheers ... our favourite from George Burns .. "When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick." ...  Greg Meyer   coy young and dynamic Spurs.

Jimmy's Video Spot: Erik Lamala (again)
 Tomorrow is a good time to open your Premiership  account young man.. Greg is convinced that he will start. I'm not so sure. Townsend is my guess at wide right unless he starts on the left.  But Erik will get on. And score hopefully. No scrub that: will score confidently.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Spurs contenders on all fronts.

 We've certainly got the class.

The JimmyG2 Column

Whisper it quietly, to your brother Charlie if you like, we could be contenders. On multiple fronts if Llewis Holtby our second favourite German is to be believed. Trophies is the name of the game this season and he says we have the depth and quality of squad to do it.

I agree, it keeps all the players and possibly most of the fans happy and involved and gives AVB scope for continuing his excellent deployment of his squad.

Chadli was given a cameo in the League Cup against Villa after injury; Chiriches was given his first run out in the same game. Defoe, Friedel and Fryers were also given a taste of actual football to keep them interested away from the training pitch.

Now I said 'most fans' because there will be some who are in favour of putting all our chips on a single Premiership number, going for the big prize and avoiding all distraction. In previous years when the squad was weaker than it is now I would have agreed.

But the Bale inheritance has been wisely invested and these 'lesser' competitions are not only an option but almost a necessity to keep all the troops amused and off the streets.. I say nothing of our glorious cup history because Spurs fans need no reminder of European nights and Wembley triumphs.

Holtby who was the architect of our victory on Tuesday with three assists and a much more measured performance talks of the momentum and confidence that a win against Chelsea at the weekend will bring. He doesn't indicate what could happen if we lose. 

As President of the 'Take a Draw Now With Our Top Four Rivals, Home or Away Society' I would gladly do just that. And I suspect that Jose Mourinho in his pragmatic way would do so too. All the more reason for us not to do so you might argue.

 And this is not just football it's personal on all sorts of levels. As the silly adverts for BT Football; say, Master v Apprentice especially after Chelsea said 'You're Fired' to our man. The gun fight at the White Hart Lane Corral draws nigh once again.

But the Premiership is, as they say and I am fond of repeating, a marathon not a sprint and no single game is a 'must win'. AVB is quite pragmatic in his own way and as long as we can maintain our run of clean sheets both me and Andres might be happy to settle for 0-0.

But this is the second big test of our credentials and having failed the first against Arsenal can we afford to fail again? A win would certainly be a big boost but a spirited draw would surely suffice at this stage.

Our recent record in all competitions gives us confidence and hope: Played 9; Won 8; Goals scored 20; Goals against 1. and gung ho for glory glory supporters might just want us to do just that. It might just work but is the upside of winning bigger than the downside of losing?

Oh bugger it, I resign my Presidency and hand back the pathetic baubles of self appointed office. I'm off down to Paddy Power's to see what the odds are on Spurs winning 2-0 and Soldado scoring first. No make that Spurs winning 3-0 and Soldado scoring the hat-trick he might have had last week.

Ah, I see that we're slight favourites to win but I'm reading that we've only beaten them three times in 42 Premiership games and that Chelsea have not failed to score in three successive away games for 11 years. Remind me what's our motto?

League (Whatever it's called) Cup:

Against a somewhat inept Villa side we controlled the game without too much trouble. Defoe set up twice by this weeks favourite Musings player Holtby scored his 5th and 6th goals of the season. He in turn released Chadli for his first goal and was only offside four times. Things are looking up.

Paulinho scored his third of the season which is as many as Dembele has scored since he came to us but as my Granny used to say:' Jimmy we can't all be good at everything'. I can't remember exactly what prompted this remark.

Chiriches was nervous and can only get better and there were some good signs; Fryers  is not a big improvement on Naughton; Friedel made an important early save and then joined Hugo's relaxation class for under employed onion bag defenders. Once again Walker didn't do anything silly.

Highlight and let off on the night was Verts debagging of Helenius in the area and in full public view. The referee tactfully ignored it to spare all our blushes but it should have been a penalty and possibly a red card. If he had grabbed his shirt or had the player gone down it certainly would have been.

But perhaps the FA regulations don't mention the on field removal of an opponent's shorts. What they get up to in private is obviously their own affair.

So a friendly draw at home to Hull in the next round and progress, though not to be taken for granted, will be odds on at Paddy's for sure. But all eyes are focused for now on the early kick off against Chelsea on Saturday.

Jimmys Video Spot:
One of the finest movie scenes of all time from 'On the Waterfront' with Rod Steiger, (brother Charlie), and Marlon Brando who he forced to take a dive and bet against him. Steiger is supposed to kill his brother but relents from guilt and departs probably to his own death at the hands of the mob.
It's not a matter o f life and death against Chelsea but win and we are well on our way to being somebody once again. We have the class. Lose and it's not a one way ticket to Palookaville but only a temporary setback on our journey to contention.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spurs: The Hollywood remake.

Cardiff line up for their home fixture against Spurs.
The JimmyG2 Column

 You know that feeling that you get half way through a film when you begin to vaguely remember that you've seen it before. As the end approaches you say to the missis,'We've seen this'. 'No' she replies, 'that was the 1974 film noir original. This is the Hollywood remake'.

'Yeah but they won't change the ending will they.The hero still shoots himself in the foot in the final frame'.

But this is Hollywood and they did. The hero prevails just as the credits roll. Foreign upstarts mugged and our hero rides off into second place in the Premiership. The coup de grace courtesy of an International cast involving a German, an Argentinian and a Brazilian. Sales ensured throughout Europe and South America.

This season is beginning to resemble an anoraks' tour of the bus parks of England and Wales. But get used to it people this scenario is going feature increasingly in our games as our reputation for flair and skill advances and our possession figures edge ever upwards.

At least with the signing of Soldado, Eriksen and Lamala amongst many others we have the equipment to force the windows and hot wire the offending vehicles. We have treated ourselves to the TWOCKers omnibus guide. Omnibus guide! Oh please yourselves. Gareth Bale the windfall that goes on giving.

At Cardiff we had an opening scare created by a slack Naughton backpass that Lloris defused once again by exploring the limits of his jurisdiction.(see Video) Whether he handled outside the area has been subject to forensic examination at all speeds and from all angles.

He just avoided the inevitable red card due to the 'uncertainty theory, but I've seen 'em given.To give Naughton some credit he shrugged off the error and played pretty well though he is too one footed to succeed at left back.

Vertonghen seemed paralysed and failed to react and Hugo double bluffed Fraser who we had briefly from Man.Utd at Spurs after l'affaire Berbatov' and fortunately despite reports to the contrary he is no better now than he was then.

We settled down then to hog the possession and batter the Cardiff goal where wouldn't you know it Marshall played the game of his life to keep us out until the very end.  The two substitutions by AVB combined to set up Paulinho for a cheeky backheel just when I'd put on my 'Oh well a draw away to the team that beat Man.City is not too bad'  face.

On another day Soldado would have had a hat-trick. Lamela played with his head up like all the best players. Holtby who I might have had on earlier set up the goal and created a chance for Paulinho. Dembele and Paulinho bossed the midfield. Did I mention Paulinho by the way? My MOM for the relief afforded by his goal and for all round effort

Walker didn't do anything silly and made one enterprising sprint through the Cardiff defence. Dawson played... well like Dawson, but I love him for what he brings to the team instead of technical excellence. Just as well really.

Verts seemed subdued and Siggy hit the woodwork once again. He has spent far too much time on the crossbar challenge at which I assume he is world champion.  Harry Kane didn't look at all out of place and should feature against Villa later today.

Villa our opponents in the League Cup, I forget what it's called this year, are struggling with injuries and even if AVB gives everyone not needed against Chelsea at the weekend a run out we should win.

 Spurs 2-0. According to reports it could be a very low turnout.
Talking Point:
We have had 59 corners so far this season and haven't scored or looked like scoring from one of them.
This with our new dead ball expert Eriksen on the job. Why don't we take more short corners other than when we are trying to run down the clock?

Jimmy's Video Spot.
You the Jury.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Eriksen not the new Bale

This isn't the way to the Eye mate.
What do you mean it's White Hart Lane first?
The JimmyG2 Column
A bemused group of Norwegian tourists found themselves at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.
They had clearly booked their trip from a very dodgy travel website.

After the open top bus trip around London and the River Cruise down to Greenwich, stopping off at the Tower, someone noticed in the small print that the day finished with a tour of WHL. What it didn't make clear was that they were required to play Spurs in a Europa cup fixture as well.

Anyway to cut a long and tedious story short, kit was found and they turned out and with UEFA's permission were allowed to play only in their own half. As a consequence Lloris didn't have a shot to save and has donated half his weekly wage to Goalkeepers sans Frontiers.

Siggy took pity on his Northern neighbours and turned in a peripheral performance but given the traditional rivalry between their two countries Eriksen did not. He completed his late cameo with what some describe as a Balesqe strike but as good a goal as it was let's not burden the boy with such comparisons yet.

If Real came knocking would we swap Gareth for the Dane? Its like comparing lava bread to an open sandwich. Different roles (sorry); different functions and each has their place. The difference for me is that Christian is delighted to be playing for us and Gareth is not.

Defoe is benefiting from training with Soldado and made some thoughtful runs and was even seen to pass the ball occasionally. His two well taken goals were the result of imaginative passes by Holtby and Lamala but his movement was the key.

Dawson is clearly not good enough according to an increasing number of supporters, but I think we need to redefine that particular word. We have conceded only one goal in seven matches and Dawson has played in six of them and been captain in five. Slippery little devils them statistics.

Obviously he must be being carried by the rest of the team but he is certainly good enough for me and has the added ingredient of Tottenhamitivity. He performs a vital role in giving the newcomers a vision of what it means to play for Spurs by his attitude and commitment. Perhaps he could just come on for the huddle and team talk and then be subbed.

Lamela is biding his time and keeping a watching brief. Nothing too flashy, just glimpses of quality on the ball but he certainly mucked in defensively and all the signs so far are good. We took advantage of their unwillingness to engage for a while but then lost interest ourselves.

Obviously by keeping the score down to just 3-0 we are hoping to earn ourselves a warm welcome for the return fixture. Difficult to imagine up in the Arctic circle but at least Siggy should feel at home.

Sandro was nearly back to his pre-injury level and was my MOM and I hope he takes some encouragement from that. Rose was excellent until he was forced off and Dembele too was strong on the ball. He's good at fetching and carrying but not so good on delivery. More General Haulage than the Post Office then.

The downside to Thursday's European Night were the injuries to Kaboul, Dembele and Rose. Apparently not as serious as first though, precautionary withdrawals are the key words. What they call coitus interruptus in other fields of human endeavour.

It raises the usual dilemma of what is widely regarded as a Micky Mouse Cup, not only is it a hard slog, but the rewards are meagre, the arrival of the CL drop-outs spoils it and if you are going to sustain injuries the whole venture is debatable.

Personally I feel that we have enough quality players, old and new, if AVB chooses to play them, to mount a challenges on all fronts and in any case I would watch a team kicking about on the beach all day if they were wearing Spurs shirts. Bring it all on and dare to do or whatever.

Later today we go to Cardiff and if we have any pretensions to being contenders we have to win. If one of their better players can't even get in as our 5th choice central defender then we should win and are favourites to do so. Decent team but 2-0 Spurs

At least it might wipe the smile from Mourinho's face as Chelsea enjoy a temporary residence at the top of the Premiership. Early days, friends early days. Though that's a sword that cuts both ways.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Best 3 minutes from the Tromso game. One touch from Lamela who saw the pass early. Good movement for the second too and well spotted by Holtby. Eriksen doesn't need a lot of space for the third after a nice set up from Naughton

Monday, 16 September 2013

Men Overboard.

Did anyone hear a splash?
The JimmyG2 Column.
What's that splashing sound I can hear? Ah yes the sound of Tottenham fans going overboard about our new team in general and Christian Eriksen in particular after our promising performance on Saturday. Mind you I'm leaning over the guard rail myself and I can't even swim.

But there must be something negative to say about the game against Norwich. Well firstly it was only Norwich, but they did give us problems last year, and perhaps with almost 70% possession we should have scored more.

Townsend should have got his head up occasionally certainly. Lloris obviously got bored and started to make his own entertainment and all in all didn't have a good week. Walker was like the Curates Egg, 'Good in parts'. But now I'm really struggling to pour water on the whole conflagration.

2-0 up with 40 minutes to go and I was actually smiling and enjoying it. I didn't look at my watch or even think about the final whistle even once. Well maybe once. The midfield was dominated by Paulinho and Dembele; Rose was proving his detractors completely wrong and Eriksen was demonstrating exactly what we have been missing.

Freed from the responsibility of doing it all by himself Siggy got into the parts that other players can't reach and gratefully accepted perceptive passes by Eriksen and Paulinho to score a couple and threaten a third.

Spurs were a delight, controlling the ball, breaking quickly and with menace. Soldado was much more involved, hitting the post with a cheeky backheel when Ruddly fumbled an Eriksen shot and laying off a Rose cross to him to set up Siggy for the first.

Townsend had six shots which was five more than Norwich managed and another clean sheet makes it 1 goal conceded in six games which must be some sort of club record. And that's with fourth choice centre half Dawson playing regularly.

Second in the league to Arsenal and if the season were to end now I'd certainly take that even if Liverpool draw tonight to go top. Nice to even dream of Chelsea and the two Manchesters fighting it out for 4th.

All this without Kaboul, Capoue, Chadli, Lennon and Chiriches and with Sandro, Holtby and Lamala on the bench. The possibilities are almost frightening. I expect all these to start if fit against Tromso at the Lane on Thursday.

Admittedly the three teams we've beaten so far are all in the bottom third of the Premiership and we failed the only real test against Arsenal. I knew I'd think of something negative if I really tried but there are increasing signs of 'gelling' and of players responding more to each other.

The team had a nice balance about it with four 'Tottenham' boys in the starting line up, three of them across the back and Townsend up front. Youth too was in the mix, new star Eriksen and Lamela our most expensive recruit are both only 21.

AVB demonstrated why he's the manager and not us by selecting match winner Sigurdsson to start ahead of Lamela and Holtby and his faith in Rose was rewarded by what to many including me, was a MOM performance. Though there were more contenders for MOM than for Duffer of the Day.

Soldado hailed Eriksen, Eriksen hailed his reception by the fans and there copious signs of us getting well ahead of ourselves in after match reactions Not me of course, I've seen this film before, but I might just get some popcorn and have an ice-cream during the interval this time.

Enjoy it while you can. With Cardiff and W.Ham who are both hovering in the bottom half to come,  and Chelsea in between this could be a momentous start to the season. Could the revenge of AVB delayed from last year be about to happen.

With Rose, Eriksen and surprisingly Walker in some papers 'Team of the Weekend' and epithets from slick to classy sprinkled about there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

Real Madrid might just have done us a favour for paying over the odds for Gareth and Mourinho by buying Willian, who didn't even make the bench on Saturday.. This freed us up to move on to Eriksen who is younger, cheaper and probably better.

 I'm taking it one game at a time and will re-assess after 10 games whether to remain 'over the moon'.
Unwell, colourful talking birds are not on the horizon at this point. 

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Here's the goals. Nice link up play, Rose prominent, Eriksen in the middle of it all. Paulinho finding space for the second and Eriksen finding Paulinho but how his cross got through I don't know. But let's not be too forensic. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Magnicent Seven: The Spurs Remake.

The Magnificent Seven.
Spurs new signings relax at the training ground.

The JimmyG2 Column.
So here we are with a few minutes, hours or even days on our hands before the Norwich game to catch our breath and mull over the events of a hectic summer transfer window and start to the season. Nothing between us and the brave upward March of Destiny than a couple of England qualifiers.

New supporters may think that it's quite normal to sell our best players and clear out the dead wood, as our surplus players are lovingly referred to, and reinvest the money in better players and thus upgrade the squad paying particular attention to any gaps therein.

If only friends, if only. The first part is certainly true: we routinely sell our best players starting with Carrick, Keane, Berbatov, Modric and recently Bale. However this year we reinvested the windfall under the direction of Baldini even before we got the money. A welcome break with tradition.

Usually we dither and haggle our way over the deadline, fail to land our key targets, upset players expecting to leave and fall just short of all our aspirations. Not this year. We had a veritable bonfire of the dead wood and signed the Magnificent Seven.

 First up Jose Paulinho. Midfield, box to box, powerhouse
(Artwork by Alon Berg)

Levy revealed his hand early and despite rumours of the availability of funds and proceeds from sales it was pretty clear that Bale was going from the start. It all got very messy in the end but without inside knowledge it is hard to assess where the blame lies.

Levy certainly has form on the gentleman's agreement front and on the gentleman to right bastard continuum is closer to the latter than the former. But as movie mogul Sam Goldwyn once remarked, a verbal agreement is not worth the paper it's printed on.

He kept the deal going until the last day but left just time for Arsenal to conclude the deal for Ozil which must have been pretty much in place. Real recouped half the Bale money and Wenger got a world class player but not in a position he really needed.

Anyway Gareth has now left the building and has moved on and so should we. He was with us for six eventful years and was nearly sold for small change under Harry but ended up the most expensive player in the world. This has allowed AVB to rebuild his side in his own image and Levy to balance the books.

He went from seven stone weakling beset by injuries and hairband issues to the scourge of Maicon and Milan; from club jinx to footballing genius. Third best player in the world? Probably not. Even most expensive is being questioned to keep Christiano happy.

Fans have split between the ' Thanks, Good bye and Good luck Gareth' faction and the haters who with their customary dislike of anyone who shows any perceived slighting of the shirt are referring to him in terms which a family friendly blog cannot possibly repeat.

But until we get Champions League on a regular basis and possibly a new stadium to increase the income flow we will be a second tier team and our up and coming players and even established stars will move on to one of several European clubs above us in the hierarchy.

Punching above our weight which we have done over several seasons will get harder as the richer clubs scoop up more of the available talent simply because they have the financial clout to do so.

Most of our new signings were in crucial positions especially Soldado. We seem to have a little threadbareness hovering about the left back position which makes the loan of Benny a little puzzling.

We may encounter problems at centre half where Kaboul is not fully fit; Capoue is out for at least a month and Braveheart Dawson is judged not good enough. Jan might be required to fill in at left back as the available cover for Rose is even more inexperienced.

We haven't yet adapted to Soldado's strengths and rely for back up on Adebayor and Defoe who failed to deliver last year. But I am certainly not unhappy about the turmoil over the summer. We clearly have an upgraded squad with a wide range of strength and skill.

The obvious problem may prove to be that bringing in 7 newcomers and selling several current members of the squad will prove to be too much change in too short a time. Lamala and Eriksen are talented but young and none of the Magnificent Seven have any experience of the Premiership.

A kindly opening fixture list and an easy Europa encounter has raised hopes and the setback at Arsenal will hopefully be a temporary blip. We haven't scored at all in open play in the Premiership but have only conceded a single, though crucial, goal in five games.

AVB must get a grip on the squad and settle them down into his ways and systems quickly. Otherwise this will become The Year of Transition 2. A movie unsuitable for many Spurs fans of a nervous disposition. The sub text will be, 'We sold Bale for this!'

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Ok, I'm in the, Thanks, Goodbye and Good Luck camp. All Gareth's 31 goals for Spurs and Wales. 13 minutes of class. We're gonna miss him no doubt but we can take a lot of the credit for his rise to fame and fortune. I hope he stays in Spain for a long, long time.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Where there is Discord AVB must bring Harmony.

'All the right notes but not necessarily in the right order'

The JimmyG2 Column.
There's nothing like losing at the Emirates to help get our ambitions into perspective. A win would have taken us to joint top with a resurgent Liverpool and got another hoodoo monkey off our back early in the season.

On the very same day that Gareth Bale finally bid farewell having financed an incredible buying spree which saw seven quality signings arrive with still another full day to go we failed yet again to beat Arsenal.

Perhaps playing so many new arrivals at once was the error. Even Townsend is a new boy. This is clearly an upgraded squad but it will need some careful integration and time on the practice pitch before it functions as it should. Holtby, Sigurdsson or even Tom Carroll might have started.

The squad is undeniably stronger and yet still managed to lose to Arsenal who have been virtually inactive in the transfer window until the last minute signing of Ozil from Real Madrid for £32 million. Continuity took the prize on this occasion.

Of course the Premiership is a marathon not a sprint and there are no prizes for being ahead at the mile marker. But it still hurts.

Real Madrid have recouped £75 million of their outlay on Bale with the sale of Ozil and Higuan. A pity Levy didn't wait another 24hrs having stalled for so long to sign off on the deal and put a spanner in the works of the Arsenal transaction.
For the third Premiership game running we failed to engineer a goal in open play. We hoped or even expected this rapidly assembled scratch orchestra to be on the same page and on song instantly but it didn't happen and nor is it likely to.

Patience, not a virtue in abundance amongst football fans, is the key to our success this season. AVB is going to need time to fine tune this talented bunch and will need the goodwill of the audience perhaps until Xmas or the boo boys will be the only chorus in town .

We dominated the possession on Sunday, itself unusual at the Emirates, but once again failed to be inventive enough in the final third to create enough clear-cut chances. It's always an ominous sign when Lloris is the MOM by some margin.

I predicted that we'd play cagey and let them come on to us as they usually do and hit them on the break. In fact the reverse happened. Arsenal refused to come out to play and we pressed and they eventually hit us on the break instead. Nobody had told Dawson that the high line had to be straight.

We might have got a draw but didn't really deserve it as our approach play was sluggish and tentative and although we have only conceded one goal in five outings it was a crucial and telling strike against us.

The injury to Capoue is not as bad as first feared, a month apparently but I would guess that this is on the optimistic side of hopeful. His position is covered by the welcome return of the original and authentic beast, Sandro, half man half grizzly bear.

Arsenal have a formidable set of attacking midfielders with Cazorla, Wilshire, Rosicky and now Ozil. We seem to have cornered the market in more defensive players and between us could mount a pretty effective side. No chance of a merger and ground share I suppose. No I thought not.

That is what passes for humour on Musings but as always there is a serious point in there somewhere. As Danny Blanchflower once remarked you can't have too many good players; its the bad players that are the problem. We've got plenty of good players but not necessarily in the right order.. 

We are a little threadbare at left back and up front, and as much as I like Michael Dawson he is going to get more games than is good for him and us in the absence of Capoue and the lingering doubts over Kaboul's fitness. Vlad may usurp him when he settles in. Jan may have to fill in at left back on occasion too.

Arsenal and Liverpool with Suarez to come back and ourselves are going to be in the mix of six teams vying for the top four and unless we can get it together  quickly even with our much improved squad we may find ourselves losing out once again.

Man City have already shown that a plethora of talent doesn't necessarily blend into an effective team and I stick by my pre-season prediction that without Bale we will struggle to finish in the top four.

In midweek we finished off the routine Europa qualification with a 3-0 victory over Tbilisi. Defoe got a couple and MOM Holtby got another. He was everywhere and might well have started against Arsenal. Carroll impressed too.

Scored a beauty and was MOM in the Europa against Tbilisi.
 ( Graphic courtesy of Conrete Don from Spurs Community)

The crazy rumour that Tom was to go on loan to Ajax as part of the Eriksen deal has hit the ground with a bump.  He is now joining Harry, along with Benny at QPR. I have a feeling that this is not going to be good for either of their careers.

Harry always does what is best for Harry and that might just not be what is best for young Tom. But he says he is going to play through the boy and with luck he will be as good as his word.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
It's safe to post this Eriksen video now. Has an eye for goal, better than 1/5 in the last two seasons at Ajax, but more importantly for us might supply those creative touches around the penalty area that could release the talents of Soldado.