The Blog that's not always wrong.

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.
The JimmyG2 Column

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.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dawson threatened.

Vlad on the rise.
The JimmyG2 Column.

 Another Thursday night; another Europa game somewhere several thousand miles away: another clean sheet; another Defoe goal; another no show by Lamela. We have almost qualified for the next stage. Yet another clean sheet will do nicely.

Unfortunately Sheriff FC, Tiraspol, Transnisnia, Moldova hadn't read the script. They were much livelier than we imagined and almost caught us out on a couple or three occasions. Chichires made a desperately excellent save covering for our sweeper keeper who had temporarily mislaid his broom.

If they had taken their chances they might even have won and ruined our defensive record in the process. But let the history books record that Vertonghen put us ahead following a corner after 12 minutes and Defoe made his own scoring history with a deflected shot to make the game safe on 75minutes.

He is now on a par with Martin Chivers for European goals. Both were/are with us for just under nine years, in Jermain's case off and on, and have very similar scoring and appearance figures. Around 100 goals in just under 300 appearances.

Chivers looks amazingly like Harry Kane or is it the other way round? But this is merely an observation, no insinuations are being insinuated. Harry wasn't even taken to Tiraspol let alone given a run out but on the other hand Soldado was. Neither he nor Adebayor got to take their tracksuits off.

I can understand why AVB is messing Ade about but what's Bobby done? Perhaps he's saving up his air miles for something for his Mum for Xmas. I thought Harry Kane played rather well last time out. Well he does look a bit like Big Martin Chivers. Oh yes he does.

Lamela who is from South America and who has played in Italy did not prosper under the sub zero temperatures. Eriksen who is from colder climes was better and engineered a superb back heel which set Lennon up for a certain goal which he missed.

AVB's favoured high line against speedy opposition with a slow back line should have come unstuck but poor finishing, the linesman, Lloris just about, and Chiriches conspired to spoil their night. Naughton , a right back, was better on the left after Fryers went off injured but not really impressive at either.

I though that Sandro was again pretty good but assume he won't start against Hull after two recent outings. I think they call that rotation but I don't want to get too technical for you. The defence on the whole were better than the rest and indeed a defender scored.

Chadli made an impact when he came on, better than Lamala on the left and possibly better than Sigurdsson but I doubt AVB will see it that way. Lennon made one or two runs early on but eventually gave up taking on his full back and lapsed into negativity. Aaron and Vlad didn't quite get it together.

So our usual Europa clean sheet, more dogged persistence than scintillating dominance. Vlad Chichires is starting to establish himself as a possible first choice and his quirky style is beginning to tickle the fancy of the fans. I might have to upgrade my opinion of him. We like a tackle and a character at Spurs.

One cheeky but eye-catching overhead change of direction showed Vlad's skill and his willingness to run out defence with the ball might just prove a useful antidote to the mind numbing back four interpassing.

 Vertonghen used to do it and Kaboul too but they are clearly under orders to lay the ball off to a midfielder. Generally speaking I approve, especially when Daws has the ball, but it becomes as predictable as when we used to lump it to Crouchy.

Variety is the spice of life and the key to unlocking defences.Vlad's rise might herald the demise of Dawson as soon as Kaboul is fully fit, if he ever is. AVB once again might remain loyal which can be a positive rather than a negative.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
I was looking for some footage of 'Lionheart' Dawson but all I could find was a minute or so made by someone else who couldn't find any footage. This is mainly of him scoring goals which is not exactly his thing.

I like the boy and he has fought off being transferred once already and reclaimed his place. He has served us very well and if he is to leave we should remember him with affection and thanks. (10 goals in 294 appearances over aperiod of 9yrs years.) Not the greatest footballer but a true Spur and every club needs its Dawsons.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Erik Lamela: Blind Faith

Give the boy a chance
 he's hardly unpacked yet.
The Greg Meyer Column
  October 26 2013 .. A Comedian and a Cook Celebrate.

Erik Lamela .. Blind Faith

 " He is the most exciting English player since Michael Owen. " ...


                                     speaker : our resident pub police inspector , a lifelong Stoke fan,talking about Andros Townsend after watching highlights of his performance against Villa.


Did Michael Owen ever seem as exciting as Townsend. Perhaps but either our pub is too old or too young to remember much about Michael Owen in his heyday. Our plod man is probably coloured given Owen did have a cameo at Stoke last year. I think. No impact though.


So more about Spurs second most talked about player shortly. Erik not Andros that is. Andros certainly affecting games and looming as a gamechanger. Look if he keeps going then he will qualify as the real deal gamechanger.


Looking about, since we lost Gareth Bale, have our nearest rivals developed or possess the magic player that all the big clubs need and seek.


A Gamechanger.




Until the bug eyed one they had lots of talent but nothing rating as a true gamechanger. Herr Ozil threatens to change all that.


Manchester United.


An out and out candidate. Robin Van Persie is certainly a game changer. Did it at Arsenal and arguably got United over the line last year.


Manchester City.


Where to start. Yaya Toure, David Silva, but most of all our favourite striker, Sergio Aguerra. Just a super superstar.




Probably not possessed of a game changer per se. However the collective of Hazard, Oscar and Mata would suffice. Lukaka woould qualify but whilst a Chelsea player is currently plying his trade near Merseyside.




Most definitely have one of the best. Louis Suarez. Eating issues, language difficulties aside has the regular ability to change a game in an instant.


And so to ..  Spurs.


Early days for Andros, and more so a growing collective a la Chelsea. Paulinho, Eriksen, even Capoue loom as part of the collective.


For our pub though there is one man who can become a gamechanger for Spurs ...


The Second Most Talked About Spurs Player ..   At A Kent Pub.


Well no arrested developments made in the Sheriff game. Professional and mainly comfortable. No Soldado, littler one scored and Adebayor travelled because .. ?


Little one played well but that talked about Argentinian was hardly a gamechanger. The irony of it all was into the second half , a Spurs break and the familiar Lamela glide was just moving into second gear.


Through the middle, inviting space ahead and he was crudely hacked down. A yellow for the Sheriff captain and a free pass to the well appointed  Away showers for Erik.


Our pub verdict. Class will tell. Sandro took a season. Bale took a season. Modric has just emerged at Real after a season.


Before a last comment happy birthday to John Cleese and Captain James Cook.


Cheers ... but 21, no English, a heavy price tag  ... we believe in Erik and the man who took him from River Plate to Roma to Spurs ... Franco ... Greg Meyer.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
I've changed my mind about another newcomer, Vlad Chiriches. His instincts are good
and he varies his play. Bit of a risk taker but seems to have settled in well. Not a game changer but a useful addition.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Why Siggy keeps his place.

Whadya mean you left it?
You missed it!

The JimmyG2 Column

OK folks move on, nothing to see here. Reports of a nuclear disaster leading to a total meltdown have been grossly exaggerated. West Ham safely put behind us, health and safety standards rigidly enforced and a clean bill of health certificate issued in triplicate.

Aston Villa 0: Tottenham Hotspur 2.Sorted, relax, last week just a blip obviously; bad day at the office confirmed ; no redundancy notices issued. Same again Sunday at Hull and we will have forgotten all about whoever it was.

In fact it gave AVB an excuse to ring a few changes: Holtby for Eriksen; Soldado back up front; Chiriches in the middle and Verts at left back; Sandro for Dembele. Actually for the cautious AVB that was quite a lot and the W. Ham display gave him the opportunity.

Clearly a blessing in disguise. He's like a man climbing a vertical rock face: doesn't let go until he has secured the next safe hand-hold. Which is why Siggy kept his place; why Lamela didn't start; why Lloris took weeks to become our number one keeper; why Chiriches is being introduced so gently. 

Siggy is probably not as good a player as Lamela or Erikson or even as good as Chadli. But he is a known quantity. A known known. He works hard, does what he asked to, he's Premiership proven, and takes his chances well enough. He has proved himself and AVB is loyal to players that have performed well for him.

The newcomers are known unknowns. As soon as they prove themselves as Paulinho has they will become first choices.There are no revealing e-mails or compromising photographs involved.

It might not be exciting stuff at the moment but it sure is effective. Many if not most Spurs fans would take effective over exciting any day for the time being anyway.  But I have to ask; what's the point? And don't pretend to yourselves that having made the top four we would revert to our legendary stylish former selves.

Why would we? If tedious, predictable and slow is effective, why change? Three points off top place; 4th consecutive away clean sheet; still our best Premiership start and AVB now our top ranked manager based on points per game.

Some, including me, might wonder: 'What's the point of winning dull or ugly?' I suppose there's no mileage in raking over the ashes of all that old, 'It's not about winning' stuff is there? All that 'glory' and doing it in style and with a flourish' malarkey and not boring the opposition, and the fans Mr. Blanchflower, and the fans, to death.

Yesterday's second half at least provided a little more cheer with Soldado's superbly taken goal to prove that he does just what it said on the tin when we bought him. It followed good work by Holtby and a subtle first time lay off by Paulinho who also managed later to avoid touching the ball let alone scoring from 2yds out.

Sandro was a force all game; Townsend put in another crackerjack performance and got the opener which was undeniably fortunate but the high spot of the first half apart from the smoke bomb. Guzan made two excellent saves to deny Paulinho and Townsend and it wasn't anywhere as close as Lambert likes to pretend.

We had an early scare when Agbonlahor blazed over. After that Lloris kept himself amused by trying to conjure up some action with some dodgy distribution. It didn't work and he was a virtual spectator again.

Welcome back. Could start on Thursday. As a senior pro.
 he took one for the team  after Andros was upended.
(Graphic by @alon berg from Spurs Community)

Chiriches was bloodied and survived virtually unscathed. The combination with Dawson is not designed for peaceful nights but they coped pretty well until Benteke came on. Verts may not like left back but he's not bad at it and was preferred to Naughton playing out of position or Fryers.

Both of these may find themselves on the long trip to Moldova, near Ukraine, on Thursday, along with Lennon, Defoe, Eriksen, Friedel, Dembele, Kane, Ade and a couple or three volunteers from the treatment room.

 Anyone who didn't play a full game against Villa and who isn't first choice for Hull should be enough. We could play three up front and still leave Soldado at home. Striker shortage? Not at Spurs.

In fact the Villa game was essentially a breeze. But we are such compulsive doom merchants that we assume in our paranoid uncertainty that what can go wrong, will go wrong. On Sunday it didn't, unlike the Sunday before. Sorry Jimmy that account is closed, totally withdrawn from the memory bank, remember?

Chatter in the treetops:
Roy Hodgson played in S.Africa in 1972/3 during the sporting ban of the Apartheid era. Interesting autobiographical fact of no relevance, or clue to his underlying attitudes  Racist Roy or Hapless Hodgson?

Andros amongst others was upset or at least confused over the 'Feed the Monkey' remark which had to be subsequently explained (away) but opted for the quiet life in view of his hope to go to Brazil. At least one other did not. It'll come out eventually.

Holtby. Did he duck or did he miss?
Andros admits it was a cross; Holtby claims he judged its flight perfectly. Andros say 'Yeh right!'

Smoke bomb.
A two stage rocket apparently. How did the original thrower smuggle the thing in? Why didn't he throw it 5 minutes earlier when it would have been a welcome distraction?
The second thrower says he was just trying to get rid after it landed at his feet. I believe him because he couldn't have hit the linesman if he'd been actually trying.
No doubt he will face a ban along with the first fan who deserves whatever he gets.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Transnistria: the country that doesn't exist. For those traveling on Thursday for the FC Sheriff game a 3 minute guide.

Friday, 18 October 2013

England Mole Revealed

And NASA replied: 'Give the ball to Andros'
No wait, that's not it.
The Greg Meyer Column.
 October 18 2013 ... Our Birthday Boy Is No Leaker Surely?
England Mole Revealed
 By our reckoning the culprit will be revealed on Twitter in twelve hours and counting down.
Early favourites have included good old "blame ash#". But no he was not even in the Stadium. Sorry Ashley Cole haters. Then there was Chris Smalling but hang on he was called an Astronaut not a monkey.
Surely Andros was not the "monkey" referred to within the Space Monkey joke. Nope Andros has even called it a compliment today.
The FA apparently had the Townsend family in the frame early. Allegedly Mr. Townsend Senior has links to Kick It Out. However seems that one is spinning earthwards in flames faster than Andros himself went down recently. 
The yellow card was correct. Remember the one where he tried to implicate Frank Lampard regards tripping him.
Now there's a name. A disgruntled bench warmer with known links to the Sun tabloid. Not sure how strong they are regards the Scottish version. Look whilst Fwank is not overly revered by our pub surely not.
Whoever it turns out to be then his chances of playing for England again are on a par with Capoue turning up at Villa on Sunday. Not because of any managerial revenge. More likely to be ostracised by his until now fellow players. The seemingly cowardly approach to the press under the cloak of preferred anonymity means any future hope of trust has gone.
What stays in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room.  Bit like what happens in the pub should stay ...
At A Kent Pub.
Why are we consigned to 4 o'clock on Sunday. Looked forward to a Saturday 3 o'clocker.
On the positive side gives little Aaron more time but not enough for Capoue or Rose according to Andre today. One of those big games that a big club should win.
Any chance on a Lamela start. Probably not. So we go with Siggy. Nice bloke, handy but not a winger. Oh well Andre knows best ... hmm.
One certainty is our birthday boy was no England leaker. Robbie Savage turns 39 today with a full head of hair. Played 10 years for Wales and never got close to an England dressing room.
Cheers ... and Roy should cut out the attempted jokes ... not even funny and a very, very dated .... Greg Meyer.         coys.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bales Back

No wonder he's damaged if that's the box he came in.
 Get a proper crate amigo, when you send him back.
The Greg Meyer Column
 October 16  2013 ... A Birthday Wilde Card.
 Bales Back...
 Spinal disc herniation .. prolapsus disci balus .. Kent Pub Dictionary .. a crook back.
Was Daniel Levy pulling a fast one over Florentino Perez. Was he selling damaged goods. Was he exporting suspect merchandise in contravention of Board of Trade regulations.
Dr. Avelino Parajon Diaz, to give him his full Spanish handle, trained and now plays ( pardon the attempted pun ) out of a couple of hospitals in ... you guessed it, Madrid. He may also have an office at 25-27 Avenida de San Luis. No prizes for guessing who also is headquartered there. Yes that erstwhile Spanish newspaper Marca. In another guise reputed by some including Sir Alex Ferguson to be the tabloidal mouthpiece of Real Madrid.
Marca and Sir Fergy have not got on since 2008 when the Scottish Knight of the Whiskey Realm  declared Marca as  " a vehicle to unsettle players..." on behalf of Real Madrid. No never.
So whats the good doctor had to say about our former hero Gareth. Essentially he is a short term crock, nothing that an operation might fix, but nevertheless a misguided signing.
Gareth's club doctor, a Senor Carlos Diez ( there's that Diaz/ Diez again) says the slipped disc is nothing unusual. Dr. Avelino Diaz on the other hand is quoted as saying ...
" If Real Madrid have signed Gareth Bale knowing about this protrusion , they have committed an error." Real have countered suggesting that a minor back ailment was detected in his pre transfer medical.
Elsewhere  someone who is no stranger to career ending injuries was under the press conference pump. Chris Coleman famously drove his high speed sports car into a slow moving tree thereby effectively  ending his playing career at Fulham, circa 2001.
 The now Wales manager was the subject of allegations that his medical team were a party to the deterioration of our Gareth's lumbar parts. Coleman hit back in no uncertain Welsh terms emphasising that " Gareth had no problem with his back when he was with us."
Our pub doctor is sure his colleague Avelino is well meant but is somewhat amazed at the said Avelino's diagnostic powers using television grabs, you tube and journalistic input from Marca. Look ...
Bales Back ... No Problemo.
The official Real Madrid response to most of the above including the seemingly ill judged rush into his first game without any pre season was certainly exculpatory as far as Messrs Levy and Coleman were concerned.
Real Madrid say...

" The player has a small chronic disc bulge, which is extremely common and will by no means prevent normal professional activity". So there you have it.
A relieved sigh echoes around our pub. Actually we are quite relaxed about the whole Bale thing. Shame to lose him but Eighty Six Million quid and he's got a dodgy back. Apparently had problems at Southampton. Then they called it growing pains.
Sure you can be relaxed after Daniel Levy has reinvested the money in some class acts. Who would have thought it. Congrats Daniel. Mind Eighty Six Mill does go a long way. And indeed how did some of that investment travel over the international break.  Some opinions from the bar ...
At A Kent Pub ... International Snapshots.
Lamela. Back home in Argentina and got a start against Uruguay. Nothing sensational but at least he had some game minutes. Surely should start on the left and switching with our new Bale on the right. 
 Greg says he might start on the left on Sunday. No I don't think so either.
(Graphics courtesy of @balesleftpeg. from Spurs Community)
Townsend. Fantastic. Now for the hard bit. performing consistently at a high level. Time will tell. Andre must be delighted for Andros. Another real option. With the little one back as well wings look good for Spurs.
The rest. Siggy's mob made the play offs, Paulinho enjoyed some friendly time with his samba mates, and our Belgian stars did just that.
So on to Villa with most of our team back. Our lawyer hopes the Andre speak was accurate. Capoue back after the break. I mean just after the break.
Elsewhere ..
                 Yes he's back ... Gareth will play a home game against Malaga this Saturday.
Cheers ... ' Work is the curse of the working classes '  .. our birthday boy .. Oscar Wilde.. Greg Meyer.           coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot;
No prizes for guessing this week's star man. It's that man again (ITMA for those over 60) 
He's getting better by the game. Inside, outside,lay-offs, shots, cut backs and high pace but more controlled. The good, the bettter and the outrageously hopeful.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Spurs enjoying Life In The Fast Lane.

 Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No it's SuperAndros.
The JimmyG2 Column
Congratulations to both our our boys on Friday night. Townsend was the star on his debut but Walker played well except for a silly foul that puts him out of the Poland game on Tuesday. Credit Roy for a bold move and expect Harry to claim all the credit before this piece sees the light of day.

Walker was caught out badly once but they didn't capitalise. If you expect your full backs to bomb down the wing then contingency plans have to be made to cover them when they do. You can't be in two places at once, though Walker is often criticised for exactly that.

Credit Roy for thinking the unthinkable, outside the box, boldly going and all that but it's hardly rocket science when you need to win a game by playing Andros the man in form who has the ability to change the game.

Better than a tedious alternative like Milner who might be fine when you need to protect a winning position. Actually, thinking about it, not even then. Andros was offered a chance and seized it with both legs. It would be nice to think that AVB will take a leaf out of Roy's tactic sheet and be a bit bolder too.

I can't remember enjoying an England game as much for a long time. Winning is a pleasant surprise of course but mainly because of Kyle and Andros. As good a debut performance as you might ever see and it will give a boost to the boy's confidence. Heavens preserve us.

Fast, Faster and fastest could apply to Andros, Aaron and Kyle. A race between the three of them would hardly be worth watching. It would be over before the starter's gun had sounded. On you marks; set; whoaaa!

If the one thing that defenders fear is pace then we have a trio of frighteners of  Kray Gang proportions. There must be something in the water at the new training ground. Townsend has the advantage over his rivals and that includes Walcott because he has better ball control.

He has the advantage over Lennon that he has goals in his repertoire and I can't see Aaron displacing him until he has recovered fully and served some time in the secondary competitions. Nor can I see the logic of playing them both together as we seem to have invested in quite a number of expensive foreign artifacts who will only find temptations on the High Street if under-employed.

Of course there is the school of thought that says that says Townsend can't be any good because he didn't cost us anything. But that's the Consumer Society for you. We know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

I tend to go the other way and give more wriggle room to our own to our own boys in the hope that they will show more dedication and loyalty to the club. Go the extra pitch length as it were. The Ledley King effect as it is known. And at its best its a two way self perpetuating process.

If Andros can keep walking straight past betting shops and politely refusing anything in a plastic bag offered by Kyle then his career looks to have taken off in style. Rumours are afoot that he will be offered a new contract at three times his current salary.

This is in an effort to tie him down for an additional two years on top of his current contract which has three years to run. A pity that Montenegro didn't think of that. It might have been the only effective way to stop him.

Theo Walcott is generally reckoned to be the fastest player in the Premiership but that's without the ball, Aaron Lennon is usually rated second, Kyle Walker gets a mention and Gareth of recent memory, but Andros is coming up fast in this category. Coming up fast! Oh please yourselves.

As the Eagles memorably sang in the 70's  it's 'Life in the Fast Lane' at Spurs these days. As long as the boys heed the warnings in the song and don't burn out before their time. Just a sample:

Life in the fast lane / Surely make you lose your mind / Life in the fast lane, everything all the time
Life in the fast lane, uh huh / Blowin' and burnin', blinded by thirst / They didn't see the stop sign,
took a turn for the worse.

Jimmy's Video Spot:

Can you guess what's coming up for the video? Hands up all those who thought it was going to be 'The Eagles'. No it's 'No dross in Andros', as the commentary says Couldn't have put it better myself. It's a little generous as we Spurs fans know but let it go in the circumstances.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

AVB learns a hard lesson.

 You wait ages for an away goal.
Then three come along together
The JimmyG2 Column
Well it's quite like old times at Chez Totterham after we were comprehensively beaten, or thrashed as some put it, by an allegedly poor  W.Ham team at White Hart Lane. They threw three bricks through our brief window of optimism and confidence.

Just as we were settling down to a period of wide horizons and sunlit upland vistas with our newly assembled team of high fliers (courtesy of Gareth Bale Enterprises in partnership with Real Madrid Inc) Sam bloody Allardyce punctures the Hotspur Blimp and we drift gently back towards the ground.

The only one to escape and flutter down to the real world safely was young Townsend who did his England hopes no harm by constantly beating his full back and crossing into the middle hoping to locate Soldado who unfortunately had been left on the bench.

Man of the moment: Andros Townsend
(Courtesy of @balesleftpeg Spurs Community)

The 'What does little Jermain have to do to get a chance after his sterling work in the Europa League' lobby had won the day. He not only failed to score but hesitated and missed a gilt edged chance to put us one up. AVB won't be trying that again any time soon.

But I predicted that he wouldn't even start, imagining that AVB had noticed Soldado' importance to the play even when he wasn't scoring. Perhaps if he had played in the Europa against a succession of weak opponents he might have equalled or bettered Defoe's tally.

Whether we are in for a hard landing outside the top four or even in the arid wastes of the Wilderness of Midtable or whether we manage to dump some of the Sandbags of Despair and gain height after the International break remains to be seen.

At half-time I was sure that I had seen this film before and if I remembered correctly it wasn't a happy ending. I didn't realise at that point that it was to be a full blown Shakespearean tragedy, and not a one handkerchief love story where the heroine dies in the last frame of a broken heart.

Of course multiple factions emerge; from the 'Bad day at the office, just a blip' faction and the 'Woe is me, thrice woe,we are all doomed' lobby. I have hovered between the two since Sunday teatime. Setbacks though are normal and all our rivals have had them so far this season.

Actually we've had two and a half curiously all to London teams but let's not quibble. The loss to W.Ham was unexpected and severe. We have pretencions to CL and they were occupying a place in the relegation zone. They hadn't scored a goal away from home this season.

 Like London buses they wait ages for an away goal and then three come along together. They hadn't won at WHL for seventeen years. Well they have now so start the clock again on that one. This is going to haunt me for ever but there I go heading for the Doomsday scenario again

Were we overconfident? Did we fall for our own hype? Our build up was certainly too slow and despite the presence of Eriksen we made few chances against a packed defence. Townsend ran riot down the right so why he tweeted an apology after the game is beyond me.

Was it just a bad day at the office? I think not. The Office Manager filled the fire extinguisher with petrol; locked the windows and doors and then started a fire in the filing cabinet. This was a train crash of immense dimensions and AVB must take a lot of the blame.

He dropped Soldado; persisted with a clearly unfit or unwell Walker instead of switching Naughton to right back where he belongs, putting Vertonghen at left back and bringing on Chichires. He made his substitutions too late once again.

Siggy and Eriksen were struggling and he crossed his fingers and hoped for the best. This is not a winning strategy. Mourinho showed him the way last week with the early introduction of Mata when things weren't working.

What sort of title challenging team cannot replace an injured player? What sort of top team consistently plays an inexperienced right back at left back. Naughton is doing his creditable best and was by no means the worst defender.

Dawson is not the best centre half in the world, or England, or even Spurs and will be replaced by Chiriches when he is ready. Or by Kaboul when he is fully fit which he might not be in the near future. Vertonghen is not much better than him this season.

The slow motion lateral passing between him and Dawson allows the opposition plenty of time to put the bus through the washing facility, fill up the tank and reverse carefully into position. His lack of pace was exposed by Morrison on Sunday and he no longer carries the ball out of defence as he did so effectively when he first arrived

This team is a work in progress with Lamela and Eriksen both young and new to the Premiership. The expectations are high but just a little premature.With seven incomers this team will take time to settle. A title challenge is far more likely next year than this.

I stick with my original prediction of a 5th place finish despite our best start in 50 years The game against W.Ham might be the end of the world for some but only temporarily. It highlights some problems about AVB's learning process and our weaknesses in certain positions but nothing that can't be resolved.

The W.Ham game was a hard lesson for AVB, the team and the fans but let's learn the lesson and move on.

Watch out Villa a more determined Spurs might be coming. 

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Element of luck about the first two, Vertonghen was certainly pushed but Reid is quick to react. Lloris a little unfortunate for the second. But the third is a gem. Vertonghen and Dawson left standing and Jan too slow to even professionally foul him. I think the commentator is a W.Ham fan.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Concern over Kaboul.

 Looks good on and off the pitch'
But looks aren't everything.
The JimmyG2 Column
Napoleon  beat us by a shade over 200 yrs to the gates of Moscow, but the result was the same: a victory in the cold. What happened next in 1812 was the long retreat whereas we took the points and a private jet home.

As far as I can make out our opponents on Thursday, Anzhi  Mackhachkala, are based in Dagestan a thousand miles away from where they actually train and live due to armed insurrections in their local area. However we played the fixture at a different stadium in Moscow because where they play their home games is not up to European competition standards. Keep up.

Most of the Russian crowd supported Spurs because they don't like the Dagestanis or their oligarch owner Souleyman Kerimov who is feeling the strain because despite some initial eye watering investment his team isn't doing very well.

This despite hiring Eto, now at Chelsea, for £350,000 a week and Willian, also now at Chelsea, Guus Hiddink, and Roberto Carlo both now left. Carlos received a bonus payment of  £1.2 million in the shape of a Bugatti Veyron. Nice work if you can get it.

Kerimov then lost a fortune in some cartel scam involving fertiliser ingredients and has now pulled the plug on his investment after just three years. So Russian oligarchs are not necessarily for life but the chances of Abramovic going the same way and taking Chelsea with him look as remote as some of our Europa destinations.

So now you are up to speed on the background which to be fair is considerably more interesting than the match. I received  AVB's email outlining the itinerary for the trip by mistake. It read quite succinctly I thought: ' Fly in; keep warm; score a couple; stay safe; fly out.'

And basically we did just that on a pitch that even Hackney Marshes would have declared unfit. Holtby and Sandro showed some positivity; Chiriches still frightens me more than he does the opposition and against better teams will get caught out sooner rather than later.

Kaboul didn't last the course and might be more likely to feature more on the treatment table than the pitch this season. The chances of him appearing with Vertonghen regularly seem to me to be slight. Dawson who has just signed a new 3yr contract is likely to make more appearances.

Lamela looks good on and off the pitch but as my Gran used to say, ' Don't worry Jimmy, looks aren't everything'. Not sure why she used to say that. He is destined to become a Spurs favourite and possible legend. It might just take a little longer than some expected and we all hoped.

He was too casual and slow on the ball although the pitch could well have been a factor. Chadli set up by Walker who is becoming a much more responsible citizen at last, popped up with another goal. Defoe set us on our way after Holtby once again had found him clear on goal.

We didn't force a single corner whilst they had eight. They almost matched us for shots too so it was not as one-sided as our 66% possession might suggest. Lloris kept our 9th clean sheet in 11 games. In the event he was only called on once to make a save.

In deference to the pitch the pace was slow bordering on lethargic and ranks among my top ten of all time worst games. It certainly didn't help Dembele's attempt to run with ball and he was caught in possession several times.

But another win puts us top and clear in our group so take the points and move on. Certainly a bunch of banana skins avoided by our Europa squad leaving most of the main force ready and rested for W.Ham on Sunday. What they call a controlled professional performance

Rose could be back; Lloris Vertonghen, Dawson, Paulinho, Dembele, Soldado,Townsend, Siggy, and Eriksen will all start and perhaps Naughton for Walker although being fit and strong he might thrive on regular gallops.

There  is a mounting demand for Defoe to start  tomorrow as he plays well against his previous clubs but that would do nothing for Soldado's confidence and I can't see AVB even considering it as Defoe played the full 90 minutes on Thursday.

W.Ham are now in the relegation zone and we should win: Spurs 3-0

Jimmy's Video Spot :
Let's hear it for Kyle Walker. It didn't all go smoothly last season for the boy dubbed 'The English Roberto Carlos' in 2012. But he's steadied down this season, he's in the England squad and things are looking up.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Spurs Stars Under Early Pressure to Perform..

  What do you mean, 'It's not all about me'?
The JimmyG2 Column.

Game of two halves, mate, game of two halves. Classic, textbook stuff. Mourinho got it wrong by leaving out Mata but is not so stubborn that he would sacrifice a match simply to make a point. So he brought him on and AVB didn't respond effectively.

Perhaps he thought that that we would cope as we were, or froze in awe of his master, or just simply made some wrong calls. Chadli might well have tightened up the right hand side; Sandro may not be fully recovered; Townsend might have been carrying a knock. We don't really know.

His substitutions when he made them were aimed at solving problems that didn't exist and not addressing the one that did. Mata. We played well for most of the first half, and went ahead courtesy once again of the holy trinity: Eriksen, Soldado and Sigurdsson.

AVB got it right initially and Jose trumped his ace in the second half and got the equaliser through a poorly defended free kick which ended with Dog Terry scoring. Then there was the bizarre post Torres red card interlude when we might have nicked it.

Game of two halves and ten minutes at the end then. Lloris made two brave and vital blocks to keep us in it and both Defoe and Siggy might have snatched it. If Paulinho had squared the ball to Soldado when he hit the outside of the post just before half time it might have been a different story.

The blame for the goal was the familiar game of pass the parcel. As usual Dawson was left holding the baby when the music stopped. Vertonghen gave away the free kick and Dembele allowed himself to be pushed back by Ivanovich thus playing everyone onside.

But last year we lost this fixture 4-2, Mata scoring two goals, so progress is undoubtedly being made. A glance at the Premiership reveals that Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, and Everton are all below us and Liverpool only ahead of us in second alphabetically.

Lamala didn't even get on let alone start despite Musings efforts on his behalf. Nor did Sandro which might have addressed the midfield problems. Dembele played very well and was the world and his dog's MOM. Townsend was a threat once again but was mysteriously subbed.

There was plenty to admire in terms of individual skill and effort and the neutrals, sad sad people that they are, were entertained in style. The fact that we are a little distressed at not having won is another measure of our progress and expectations.

They struggled with our attacking play in the first half and we struggled with theirs in the second. Then Torres, who should have been sent off for the scratch to the face deliberately inflicted on Vertonghen got carried away. He may well get a three game ban for the original offence.

Jan Vertonghen the centre of attention  against Chelsea.
(Graphic courtesy of @balesleftpeg:  from Spurs Community)

Vertonghen should not have allowed himself to be drawn in but passions run high in this sort of fixture and he was sorely provoked. Mourinho trying to distract attention by putting the blame on Jan showed himself to be a prize idiot but he won the tactical battle in the end if not the match.

Mutterings are surfacing about Eriksen who faded as did most others as Chelsea pressed in the second half, and Soldado who has yet to score in open play in the Premiership.

Some people are saying that Christian was cheap and available because he gained a reputation at Ajax for disappearing in the crucial games and that Roberto is not the type of player we need and at 28 was too expensive and won't be able to adapt.

Now I enjoy an early panic as much as the next man but six games in after our best start since the 1961/2 season when we won our first 11 games and drew the twelfth is a little early even for me. Six games  for chrissake people. Even if we were bottom of the league it would make no sense.

You can't have too many good players as the man once said and these two are certainly top class. I don't think that Soldado should play against Anzhi to help him gain confidence or that Defoe should start against W.Ham because he is on fire. How will that give Soldado confidence?

And I don't think that AVB will do so. On Thursday it's a 4000 mile round trip and the squad should comprise anyone not required for the weekend or who needs pitch time like Sandro, Chiriches, Kaboul, Chadli, Naughton, Lamala, Defoe, Kane. and Rose. That's what squads are for.

So nobody over the Moon or as sick as a Parrot, except Jose but then he is a bit of an avian hypochondriac as we all know. In the long run a decent and valuable point.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
The trip earned Torres a yellow card but the scratch was not seen and went unpunished.. Red card in anybody's book except Mourinho's. It gets nastier on every viewing.
(Update: No further action to be taken. Vertonghen banned till end of season for putting his face in the way of Torres nails. I'm joking, I'm joking about the last bit anyway)